Asserting that the frosty India-Pakistan relationship has impacted Afghanistan tremendously, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Thursday said maintaining a balance in ties with the two neighbours has been difficult for his country.
Pakistan’s impact on Afghanistan is a “lot greater” than any other country and Kabul must convey to Islamabad that close ties with New Delhi will not impact their relationship, Karzai said at a session at the Raisina Dialogue here.
“India is the greatest friend of Afghanistan. India has been a tremendous contributor to Afghanistan, but the impact that Pakistan can make in Afghanistan, is a lot greater than any other country,” the former Afghan president asserted.
He said the “unfortunate state of relationship” between India and Pakistan has impacted Afghanistan tremendously. “We want to be the best friends with India and Afghans have proven to be the best friends with India, but we will tell Pakistan that our friendship with India is not going to stop us from being the best brothers and friends with Pakistan. How to convey this is a very difficult task, but we have to manage it,” he said.
“We have two sentiments toward Pakistan — when we became refugees in Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Pakistan, Pakistani people received us with open arms….On the other hand we have serious complaints against the Pakistani government and their military institutions for their interference in Afghanistan, promotion to extremism, and all of that,” Karzai said.
Talking about the peace process in his war-torn country, he said there is no other way for Afghanistan. It needs the peace process to be successful, he added.