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It’s like saying Earth doesn’t revolve around sun: Ashraf Ghani on Imran Khan’s Haqqani denial

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.   | Photo Credit: AP

During an IMC interaction in Davos at WEF 2020, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had said the Haqqani network militant group was not operating in his country anymore.

Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday took a jibe at Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for denying the existence of the Haqqani network in Pakistan, saying it was like claiming the Earth does not revolve around the sun.

Mr. Ghani said he is yet to see a breakthrough in his talks with Pakistan on this issue, and has only seen some “good statements” coming out from Islamabad so far.

During an International Media Council (IMC) interaction in Davos at WEF 2020 on Wednesday, Mr. Khan had said the Haqqani network militant group was not operating in his country anymore.

Asked to comment on this claim during his own IMC interaction on Thursday, Mr. Ghani said, “One can also very well say that Earth doesn’t revolve around sun.”

He added that it was good to see Mr. Khan presenting a very good reform agenda in Davos, but such denials were not good.

“I have not seen a breakthrough. I have seen good statements but the jury is out on the outcome. If Haqqani didn’t exist there, then why did Prime Minister Khan take credit for release of hostages,” Mr. Ghani asked.

“This is a denial which is not for good. We need to engage in a dialogue and that would be good for Afghanistan and for Pakistan and the entire region,” he said.

Mr. Ghani further said Afghanistan is dealing with a great deal of uncertainty and it is important to deal with each and every issue one by one.

He said a big majority of Afghan people believe the country is going in the right direction.

On any ceasefire in Afghanistan, he said any peace deal involves trade-offs but one needs to convince the people about that.

Regarding withdrawal of the U.S. troops, he said, “We will be discussing it in more detail in coming weeks about quantum of the U.S. troop withdrawal but at the time the idea is about 4,000 troops. The timing and other final details need to be discussed.”

On whether these troops can be used in Iran, he said there is a bilateral understanding that these cannot be used on any third party. Their ground base will have to be changed if at all any such need arises, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 8:34:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/its-like-saying-earth-doesnt-revolve-around-sun-ghani-on-imran-khans-haqqani-denial/article30634390.ece

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