By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) - Afghanistan’s president on Monday said that people of his country are optimistic about their future as he called for an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process to succeed.
Addressing the eighth ministerial Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process conference in the Turkish city, Ashraf Ghani said that his government had offered an unconditional dialogue to Taliban two years ago after “sensing urgency and mood of his people”.
“A successful ceasefire during June 2018 was an initial step in building trust and allowing our people to imagine that end of violence is a possibility,” he said.
In order to achieve sustainable peace, Ghani said, there is a need of coordinated efforts from regional and international actors.
“We must make sure that we complete the off-the table critical work now for successful negotiations on the table,” he said, adding national consensus and engaging all sections of society was imperative for a lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Thanking Turkey for its role for the security of Afghanistan since 2001, Ghani said that his government succeeded in freeing 10 of its districts from Daesh terrorists in the last one year.
“Daesh wanted to capture Tora-Bora caves […] 1,442 Daesh terrorists have surrendered to our forces that led an intense air campaign,” he told the conference.
“Our threats are shared which demand regional counter-mechanism,” he said, adding that the region lacked the system of risk assessment and management.
“Scale of counter-terrorism needs to be expanded,” Ghani said.
Thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan, Ghani said that bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Turkey are “deep, broad-based and enduring”.
The Afghanistan president said that he had also made an offer of “economic cooperation” to Pakistan.
“On my last trip to Pakistan, I offered the vision of economic cooperation and articulated the willingness of large scale cooperation [...] As we are both members of the of the World Trade Organization, our shared goal is tied according to rules of that organization. I look forward to fruitful cooperation in the future,” he added.