Regional platforms appropriate mechanisms to fight terror: CEO
KABUL (Pajhwok): Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah has called regional platforms as appropriate mechanisms to organise collective efforts at fighting terrorism, drug smuggling and other such threats.
“The Heart of Asia Process, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC), are the appropriate mechanisms, through which we could organize our collective efforts in the fight against terrorism…” Abdullah told a counter-terrorism conference in Jaipur, India.
The conference brought together political leaders, academic scholars, and security experts in what Abdullah said “the beautiful “Pink City.” “Like the rest of “Incredible India,” this city is a symbol of exemplary progress, tolerance, pluralism and co-existence, which should be appreciated and cherished.”
The CEO told the gathering how terrorism in Afghanistan turned complex in the backdrop of three periods: the Cold War; the post-Cold War; and the Post-9/11 and the failures to follow through, the missed opportunities for regional cooperation, and the continued pursuit of zero-sum policies.
He said Afghanistan used to be one of the most peaceful countries in the region before the imposed conflicts despite poverty. “But we became one of the last victims of the Cold War, as the former Soviet Union invaded and occupied our country.”
“But the situation has yet to change, even though lip-service is often given in support of a paradigm shift to results-oriented regional cooperation.”
He said the Afghans were effectively facing a regional cold war where terrorism had become the principal instrument of projecting influence by some states against others. “As a consequence, there is no universal appreciation of the grave danger, which terrorism poses to regional stability and international peace and security.”
He said though nations generally agreed that terrorism threatened the security of the whole humanity, each state was developing its own homegrown capabilities to tackle the direct threat it faced within its milieu.
“They have been reluctant to adopt and implement a global counter-terrorism action plan, even though terrorism sees no borders, nationalities, religions, creeds or cultures.”
Abdullah said ironically, however, in some cases, terrorism had helped bring old adversaries closer and at times turned foes into allies and, in some cases, allies into foes. “Such half-heart measures have only addressed the symptoms rather than the causes of terrorism.”
“That is why to be effective, I propose that each region assess the set of threats terrorism poses to their security and development and then agree to draft and implement a joint counter-terrorism action plan.”
Abdullah said the brave Afghan forces continued fighting terrorism and the government had re-launched a peace process. “Our peace efforts are aimed at meeting the desire of every Afghan for freeing our country from an endless cycle of war and violence and to prevent the use of our soil as a platform for regional and global terrorist activities.”
The CEO said the Afghan government’s position on peace with the Taliban groups was clear: “Those Taliban groups, who are willing to join the process, they are welcome. While those, who refuse to do so, would be dealt with militarily.”
He said the national unity government of Afghanistan had repeatedly called on all stakeholders, including neighbours, to commit the collective will and resources to confront what was a common security threat. “Afghanistan has done more than lion’s share.”
Abdullah said the Afghan army and police sustained more than 7,000 casualties last year to fight the battles of the whole region against terrorism. “Today, I renew our early calls on our neighbors to discontinue differentiating between “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists.”
He said the regional countries must put aside all double-standards in the fight against terrorism and apply domestic counter-terrorism policies and laws to tackling the threat of terrorism at the regional and global levels.
On relations with India, the CEO said the Government and people of Afghanistan took immense pride in their ancient, civilizational ties with India, a time-test friend and a strategic partner.
“We are grateful to the Indian government for the recent provision of four helicopters, as well as for the completion of major infrastructure projects: The building of Afghanistan’s Parliament, the Salma Dam in Herat, and two electricity sub-stations.”
In the months ahead, Abdullah said, they looked forward to India’s new development aid to implement some of signature economic infrastructure projects.
“This would further consolidate what has been achieved, while bolstering regional connectivity for increased transit trade and investment.”
Overall, he said, Indian aid would go a long way in addressing Afghanistan’s intertwined security and development needs, enabling the Afghans to cooperate with the rest of the region in the fight against terrorism.
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