Washington: Accusing Pakistan of harbouring Taliban and al Qaeda militants, a top Afghan official on Monday said the global community is committing a blunder by embracing it as a strategic partner despite the fact that terrorism emanating from the region is affecting India, UK and others.
"Unfortunately, the military-intelligence establishment of one of our neighbours still regards Afghanistan as its sphere of influence," Rangin Dadfar Spanta, National Security
Advisor of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said in an op-ed in `The Washington Post`.
Spanta, who had also served as the country`s foreign minister, said that Pakistan, while faced with a growing domestic terrorist threat, "continues to provide sanctuary and
support to the (Taliban`s) Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network, the Hekmatyar group and al Qaeda."
"And while the documents recently disclosed by WikiLeaks contained information that was neither new nor surprising, they did make public further evidence of the close
relations among the Taliban, al Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence," he said.
The international community is present in Afghanistan to dismantle these international terrorist networks, Spanta said. "Yet the focus on this fundamental task has progressively
eroded and has been compounded by another strategic failure: the mistaken embrace of `strategic partners` who have, in fact, been nurturing terrorism."
The Afghan National Security Advisor said undoubtedly the absence of transparency in contracts and the presence of private security companies clearly connected to certain
officials -- contributing ultimately to the privatisation of security and thus insecurity in Afghanistan -- are matters of grave concern.
"But the international terrorist presence in the region is not entrenched solely because of Afghan corruption. Britain, Spain, Turkey, China, Germany and India have all been
victims not of Afghan corruption but of international terrorism -- emanating from the region," he said.
"It is my firm conviction that securing our people, districts and towns from terrorists; institutionalising the rule of law; and fighting corruption are necessary steps
toward building a strong and responsive state," Spanta said.
However, he said that this is not enough. "No domestic measure will fully address the threat of international terrorism, its global totalitarian ideology or its regional
support networks. Dismantling the terrorist infrastructure is a central component of our anti-terror strategy, and this requires confronting the state that still sees terrorism as a
strategic asset and foreign policy tool."
Spanta said global efforts to counter terrorism will not succeed until and unless there is clarity on who are friends and foes.
"How can we persuade Afghans, or the parents of young soldiers from coalition countries, to support a war where our `partners` are involved in killing their sons and daughters?
"While we are losing dozens of men and women to terrorist attacks every day, the terrorists` main mentor continues to receive billions of dollars in aid and assistance. How is this fundamental contradiction justified?" he asked.