Kabul accepts gift of 10,000 AK-47s from Moscow
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan government, accepting a gift of 10,000 AK-47s and millions of rounds of ammunition from Russia, on Wednesday said its policy to strengthen the Afghan defence and security forces was not in contradiction with its policy on peace and reconciliation.
Speaking at a ceremony to accept the weapons gift at Kabul airport, National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar said: “This important donation is from an important friend of Afghanistan in a crucial time for Afghanistan and the region.”
He said the region faced a common enemy and local and international terrorists not only posed a serious threat to Afghanistan but to the entire region, including Russia.
He said the assistance from Russia showed they were united in the war against terrorism. Atmar said the weapons were delivered to Afghanistan at a time when the Afghanistan government was taking major steps to achieve peace.
He said the weapons delivery from Russian was aimed at strengthening the Afghan security forces and it was not in contradiction with the government policy on peace.
Atmar praised the sacrifices of the Afghan security forces and said strengthening them guaranteed peace and stability in the country. He said the government would continue to pursue peace, but the nation had to be prepared for its defence.
The national security advisor said if some elements continued to commit violence, the Afghan security forces should be ready to bring into use all available resources to protect the nation and the country.
Atmar said the government was ready to enter peace talks with those willing to shun violence, accept the constitution and human rights, but not with those who were not Afghans and were fighting against the Afghan nation.
He said a number of people currently engaged in clashes were local and international terrorists and they and their Afghan supporters would face a strong military response.
The security advisor said they needed to wait if the peace talks could bring about peace, end violence and lead to elimination of terrorist safe havens or not.
He said the government would not confine its efforts to achieving peace, but it would try to reach the goal of ending violence and dismantling terrorist sanctuaries.
He said it was not importance who attended the peace talks, but important was the outcome of peace talks that could end terrorism and violence.
He said the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan chief Gulbadin Hikmatyar had also been requested to join the peace process and every Afghan who had picked up gun and was fighting against the Afghan government had the chance to join the peace process.
Atmar was speaking a day after the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States, and China, met in Kabul and made a statement expressing support for planned talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban representatives in the first week of March.
Russia’s ambassador, Alexander Mantytskiy, told the handover ceremony that his country was willing to work with Afghanistan to combat problems like terrorism and drugs.
He said the delivery of the rifles showed Russia supported Afghanistan and was cooperating with the country.
“We want an independent, economically developed Afghanistan free from terrorism and drugs. In this regard, we have done many things and will continue to do so in future. Our military, cultural and humanitarian support with continue this way.”
The ambassador said there had been reports in the media that Russia was boycotting cooperation with the United States on Afghanistan. These reports were not true and Russia was cooperative with America and NATO in Afghanistan, he said.
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