The Taliban is running wild in Kabul, killing and maiming Afghan soldiers on a daily basis, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told a national audience Monday night that neighboring Pakistan is partly to blame for the chaos in his country.
President Ghani told viewers from his presidential palace in Kabul that he is sending a delegation to Islamabad later this week. The delegation will be tasked with demanding that Pakistani authorities do more to fight against the Taliban.
“The last few days have shown that suicide-bomber training camps and bomb-producing factories that are killing our people as active as before in Pakistan. We want action against the organizers,” the Afghan President demanded.
“We know they have sanctuaries there, we know they are active there,” Ghani said of the not-so-secret relationship between the Taliban’s leadership and Pakistani officials. “We need all those activities to be stopped.”
Since assuming office in September, 2014, Ghani has made it a priority of his administration to strengthen ties with neighboring Pakistan. His televised address on Monday marked a noticeable shift from his stated goals.
“We hoped for peace, but we are receiving messages of war from Pakistani territory… We don’t want Pakistan to bring the Taliban to peace talks, but to stop the Taliban’s activities on their soil,” he added.
“Our relations with Pakistan are based on our national interests,” Ghani added, before mentioning that “relations lose meaning” if Pakistan continues to allegedly harbor terrorists.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry responded to Ghani’s address, saying that its people can relate to the “pain and anguish of the brotherly people” across the border, as the country has dealt with similar circumstances over the years.
Regarding the weekend attacks that saw dozens of Afghans killed and hundreds injured at the hands of the Taliban, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry added, “Pakistan condemns these deadly attacks in Afghanistan in the strongest terms.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department called for Afghanistan and Pakistan to continue to share information in the fight against “violent extremism.”
State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday that there is no “specific intelligence” to show that Pakistan has aided the Taliban in conducting attacks in sovereign Afghan territory.
“It is in the urgent interest of both countries to eliminate safe havens and to reduce the operational capacity of the Taliban on both sides of the border,” Kirby said.
“We certainly want to see a political reconciliation process move forward. We want to see peace,” he added.