President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s new South Asia strategy to combat terrorism in Afghanistan saying the move is an affirmation of the joint effort by his country and the US to free the region from the ”threat of terrorism”. “I am grateful to President Trump and the American people for this affirmation of support for our efforts to achieve self-reliance and for our joint effort to rid the region of the threat of terrorism,” said Ghani.
He added that the US Afghan Partnership is stronger than ever and peace in the region remains the priority of the new US strategy. “The US Afghan Partnership is stronger than ever ever in overcoming the threat that terrorism that threatens all of us… The objective of peace is paramount. Peace remains our priority,” said Ghani.
Hailing America’s effort to combat terrorism in the region, Ghani said, “It (new South Asia strategy) puts particular emphasis on enhancing Afghan air power, doubling the size of Afghan Special Forces, deepening NATO’s ability to train, advise and assist Afghan National Defence and Security forces.”
Earlier in the day, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy, Donald Trump criticized Islamabad’s continued support for cross-border terrorism and warned Pakistan of consequences for providing safe havens to terrorists and sought an enhanced role for India to bring peace in the war-torn country. “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, America’s interests are clear: We must stop the resurgence of safe havens that enable terrorists to threaten America, and we must prevent nuclear weapons and materials from coming into the hands of terrorists and being used against us, or anywhere in the world for that matter,” Donald Trump had said in his speech.
Trunp also said that US approach to Pakistan would change under the new policy and India would play a larger role in establishing peace in the region. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond. Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists…We appreciate India’s important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development. We are committed to pursuing our shared objectives for peace and security in South Asia and the broader Indo-Pacific region,” Trump said.