Published On: Sat, Mar 14th, 2015

Abdullah Abdullah CEO Afghanistan talks at The India Today Conclave

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thumb_031315103129New Delhi: Delivering the evening keynote address at India Today Conclave, Afghanistan CEO Abdullah Abdullah said the new national unity government in Afghanistan is “obligated” to put Afghanistan on the road to peace, prosperity and national reconciliation.
Brushing aside talk of differences between him and President Ashraf Ghani with whom he was involved in a bitterly contested election, Abdullah said the latter is his “boss” and though they are personality-wise different, both have the interests of the nation at heart.
The CEO sought to clarify that his post, an unusual one for a politician and more a preserve of the corporate world, is basically an arrangement he worked out with Ghani and tantamount to a prime minister’s role elsewhere.
Abdullah also sought to allay fears about Afghanistan getting closer to Pakistan at the expense of India—in the backdrop of President Ghani departing from protocol to go and meet Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif during his recent visit to the country—saying the bedrock of India-Afghanistan relations is strong and any improvement in relations with “neighbouring countries” would also serve to further the cause of peace in the region. He said it is crucial for Afghanistan to resolve outstanding issues with Pakistan in order to stamp out terrorism from the country. He added that talks with the Quetta-based Afghan Taliban could yield results in the next few weeks.
The Afghanistan CEO also dismissed talk about former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai criticising the new government’s move to tap Pakistan for training its forces, saying having spent years in the opposition, he is sympathetic to any constructive criticism. Abdullah also thanked India for its longstanding support to reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan, saying even Karzai complimented him on his trip to India to attend the conclave.

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