Horrified over his successor Ashraf Ghani’s ‘unthinkable concessions’ to Pakistan, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Tuesday warned that Afghanistan was in danger of sliding under ‘Pakistan’s thumb’.
“We want a friendly relationship but not to be under Pakistan’s thumb,” Hamid Karzai, the 57-year-old former Afghan president, said in an interview with The Guardian. Karzai, who was the president of Afghanistan for 10 years until last September also said that Afghanistan’s historic struggles against British imperialism and Soviet invasion will go in vain if the country succumbed to pressure from Pakistan. Several ‘once-unthinkable concessions’ made to Pakistan in the recent months have horrified Karzai and many of the men who helped him rule for nearly a decade, the paper said. Karzai’s associates have also spoken about their anger at Ghani’s Pakistan policy.
Hamid Karzai’s remarks come at a time when his successor Ashraf Ghani has overturned the country’s traditionally hostile relationship with Pakistan, in the hope of enlisting its help in brokering a peace deal with the Taliban. Talking about how the Taliban is allowed to operate freely inside Pakistan, he slammed his successor’s decision to send six army cadets to Pakistan for officer training. “We should not send troops for training in any neighbouring country, when they are sending us suicide bombers in return”, said Karzai.
Karzai’s willingness to send Afghan officers to India while spurning Pakistan has enraged Pakistan’s generals, who believe the future leaders of the Afghan army were being indoctrinated by their ‘mortal enemies’.
Rangin Dadfar Spanta, the former foreign minister and national security adviser of Afghanistan, also slammed Pakistan saying that the new government’s policy amounts to the humiliating ‘appeasement’ of a hostile power who would never change its ways. He expressed alarm over Ghani’s effort to keep India, the region’s superpower, at a distance. “In a sign of Delhi’s displeasure, work has already been stalled on some key Indian-backed development projects in Afghanistan”, Spanta said. India has invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction, and has trained scores of Afghan officers.