Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said on Friday his country will not allow its soil to be used for a proxy war between India and Pakistan, urging countries in the region, including India, China and Russia, to put up a united fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, which draws sustenance from outside its borders.
"Terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy has boomeranged,” he said in his inaugural address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, making an oblique reference to Pakistan.
“Most of all, terrorism which derives its sustenance and support from outside our borders, remains the biggest challenge for the stability and prosperity of Afghanistan as well as the region," said Karzai, who presided over the first democratic transition in his country and was at its helm for 13 eventful years.
Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the inaugural session of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, in New Delhi on Friday. (Vipin Kumar/ HT Photo)
“I am sure India will not do that… I would like to reassure Musharraf. He needn't worry about a proxy war,” he said, addressing a packed audience of policy-makers, diplomats and business leaders.
Pakistan has remained sceptical of India's role in Afghanistan and Karzai who made 20 visits to Pakistan as the country's president has consistently spoken about terror sanctuaries outside Afghanistan borders. He referred to the financial and ideological support the terror groups had received.
Karzai praised India's role in the reconstruction of his country, especially in capacity-building.
He flagged off concerns about Afghanistan continuing to be a theatre for "great games" by other powers.
Reiterating his previous position, Karzai said the US should have fought terrorism “in its sanctuaries and support bases”, adding he was proved right about his 2006 statement that Osama bin Laden should have been hunted in Pakistan because the al Qaeda chief was found and killed in Abbottabad in 2013.
Karzai talked about regional countries coming together to address the challenges of terrorism even as he listed out the gains Afghanistan has made over the past 13 years in terms of democracy and building of institutions.
He also stressed the need for India and China to fight the scourge of terrorism together. “India, Russia, China are superpowers in their own way. Countries in the region should fight the challenge together. Terrorism is a key challenge,” he said.
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