When Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa called Ashraf Ghani to condemn recent terror attacks, the Afghan President had a blunt message for him – those responsible for the assaults live and recruit in Pakistan.
Any “inaction and hesitation” in tackling terrorism and extremism will result in “threats to Pakistan and the region”, Ghani said, according to a statement issued by the president’s office on Monday.
Soon after Bajwa made the call on Sunday night, the Pakistani military’s media arm had given a different take on the conversation.
A statement issued by the Pakistani military quoted Bajwa as saying that Pakistan had “come a long way in its fight against terrorism of all hue and colours” and eliminated “all safe havens”. Bajwa also said Pakistan will cooperate with the Afghan government to eliminate terrorism.
But the Afghan statement made it clear Ghani believes Pakistan is the root of the problem. He said: “Those who claimed responsibility for carrying out these terrorist attacks live, operate freely and recruit people in Pakistan and no action has been taken against them.”
Ghani also pledged to take “revenge against those responsible for the attacks”, saying Afghanistan had made “all necessary preparations” for its security.
“Terrorism and extremism are common threats to the region and world, inaction and hesitation to tackle them can pose threats to Pakistan and the region,” he added.
Ghani said he wanted “all-front and serious discussions” on the issue of terrorism “since repetition of 2016 is unacceptable to the people and government of Afghanistan”.
The Afghan statement also quoted Bajwa as referring to the past and promising “that such activities will not be repeated on (the) part of Pakistan”.
More than 50 people, including five diplomats from the UAE, were killed in three terrorist attacks in Helmand, Kabul and Kandahar on January 10.
The Taliban claimed an attack outside the Parliament in Kabul but denied any involvement in the attack in Kandahar, which resulted in the death of the diplomats. The police chief of Kandahar had blamed the attack on the Haqqani Network and the ISI.
Since taking over in November, Bajwa has tried to reach out to the Afghan leadership, which has been very wary of Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders after a failed attempt by Islamabad to broker peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.
During his conversation with Ghani, Bajwa suggested a “robust border management mechanism and intelligence cooperation” to stop the movement of terrorists across the border.