KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani lambasted Pakistan on Monday over a recent wave of insurgent attacks in the capital Kabul that killed at least 56 people.
“The last few days have shown that suicide bomber training camps and bomb-producing factories which are killing our people are as active as before in Pakistan,” Ghani told a news conference.
“We hoped for peace but we are receiving messages of war from Pakistan.” Pakistan has historically supported the Taliban insurgents and many Afghans accuse it of nurturing militant sanctuaries on its soil in the hope of maintaining influence in Afghanistan.
Since coming to power last year Ghani has courted Pakistan, expending substantial domestic political capital in the process, in hopes Islamabad will persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.
But his comments on Monday are the strongest yet against Pakistan.
“In my telephone call with Pakistan prime minister (on Sunday), I told Pakistan to see terrorism in Afghanistan the same way it sees terrorism in Pakistan,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“I ask the Pakistani government if the mass killings of Shah Shaheed had happened in Islamabad and the perpetrators were in Afghanistan, what would you do?” he said, referring to a Kabul neighbourhood that suffered a fatal truck bombing on Friday.
At least five people were killed Monday when a Taliban suicide car bomber struck near the entrance of Kabul's international airport.
The attack follows a barrage of deadly bombings in the Afghan capital on Friday, which struck close to an army complex, a police academy and a US special forces base and killed at least 51 people.
Pakistan had brokered peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in July, the first round of which took place in Murree. But after the announced death of Taliban supremo Mullah Omar, a second round of talks has been postponed on the Taliban's insistence, said Islamabad.
Pakistan responds to Ghani's comments
A statement by the Foreign Office on Monday said: "We have taken note of the press conference by the President of Afghanistan held in Kabul today and its contents relating to Pakistan.
"Pakistan and Afghanistan are brotherly and neighbouring countries and enjoy close and cooperative relations. Pakistan is committed to maintaining good neighbourly relations with Afghanistan and all other regional countries."
The statement said Pakistan was itself the biggest victim of terrorism, with human losses exceeding 60,000.
"The people and the Government of Pakistan can feel the pain and anguish of the brotherly people and the Government of Afghanistan over the recent wave of terrorist attacks, which have resulted in the loss of many valuable lives and injured scores of people."
"Terrorism is our common enemy and a cooperative approach is needed to combat this menace."
The FO statement said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to Kabul in May said Pakistan considered enemies of Afghanistan as its own enemies, and has been extending complete cooperation to Afghanistan in combating terrorism.
Pakistan remains committed to supporting and facilitating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, said the FO statement.