Time to move past ‘conspiracy theories’, work together: Abdullah

Afghanistan’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation addressed an event at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday and said “peace is on the horizon” but that everyone needs to move beyond conspiracy theories, and “start looking at the region as one region.”

Everyone needs to draw on lessons learned and look at where the region could have been if the situation had been different, he said.

Abdullah stated he cannot emphasize enough the importance of current peace efforts which will benefit the entire region.

He told the delegates attending the event his job as the chairman of the HCNR is to help build consensus and promote reconciliation in order to seek a political settlement.

Again he said Afghanistan is very different to what it was in 2001 and is inclusive and respects the rights of people.

Both Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to pay a high price because of terrorism, he said adding that there are groups working as spoilers of the peace process.

He also stated that during his meeting with Pakistan’s national assembly on Monday night, he noticed the widespread interest in Pakistan to reach a peace settlement in Afghanistan.

He said Afghanistan is grateful for the steps Pakistan has taken to date around the peace efforts and thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees.

Prior to Abdullah’s speech, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, said: “We do not want to meddle in your [Afghanistan’s] internal affairs. We respect your sovereignty, your independence and your territorial integrity”.

He said there had been “a paradigm shift” and Pakistan wants to be friends, not masters.

He also assured Kabul of Pakistan’s “complete support”.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will visit Pakistan soon.