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Ashraf Ghani invites Pakistan for extensive talks, warns of 'high price' for not availing opportunity

Washington: Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has invited Pakistan for a comprehensive dialogue, warning that if Islamabad does not avail this opportunity, it will pay a "high price". Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been tense for months, with the two sides accusing each other of turning a blind eye towards certain militant outfits.

 Ashraf Ghani invites Pakistan for extensive talks, warns of high price for not availing opportunity

File image of Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani. Reuters

"What I am offering the Pakistan government, the Pakistan security apparatus, is the invitation to a comprehensive dialogue," Ghani said during CNN's GPS Sunday talk show.

"So here is the opportunity. If Pakistan does not take this opportunity, I think there will be - they will pay a high price. So I hope that its their interest to engage," he said.

In his UN General Assembly address last week, President Ghani had sought dialogue with Pakistan to build strained ties and address raging militancy.

Kabul says Pakistan provides safe havens to terrorists who launch cross-border attacks, while Islamabad complains that Afghanistan and its intelligence services provide support to militant groups such as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

"The examination of Pakistan has never been as thorough, and the message for the need for Pakistan to engage and become a responsible stakeholder in the region and in the fight against terrorism has never been this clear," Ghani told the channel.

He said the Afghans are determined to fight and no one should underestimate their wish for a secure region.

"Our tragedy is we are potentially one of the richest countries on earth, given our size and population, with our natural resources, natural capital, you know, mining, and potentially oil and gas. But the cost of war is intense and immense," the president said.

Responding to a question, Ghani claimed that the Taliban are becoming less and less popular.

"It's a sign of weakness to attack a mosque. It's a sign of weakness, not strength, to kill people, soldiers who are praying. Its a sign of weakness to attack civilians in broad daylight. Blowing bombs, track bombs particularly, does not make you popular," he said.

The president said the Taliban should understand that society does not support violence, particularly a society that has suffered 40 years of violence.

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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2017 16:31:54 IST