New Delhi: Differentiating between good and bad terrorists and turning a blind eye to countries that use terrorism as an instrument of state policy can have catastrophic effects, Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah said on Thursday.

Speaking at the 15th Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, he indicated that Pakistan needs to change its strategy of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy to ensure peace in Afghanistan and in the wider region. Though Abdullah did not name Pakistan, it was clear he was pointing a finger at the country.

“The neighbours should change the policy of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy," he said, responding to a question on how “Pakistan’s mind" can be changed to fight terrorism in the region.

Pakistan is believed to be supporting the Taliban which is seen as the main insurgent group in Afghanistan, controlling a sizeable part of Afghan territory despite a 16-year-long war against the group by US-led international forces. Both India and Afghanistan accuse Pakistan of using its territory to train and arm terrorists.

Of late, the international community, including the US and Russia, have expressed concern that the Islamic State (IS) could be establishing a base in Afghanistan, with the Taliban seen as the lesser of the two challenges.

“Any kind of differentiation between good and bad terrorists, failure to look at linkages between terrorists and extremist outfits, state-sponsored violence and proxy war can have catastrophic consequences," he said, urging for an increase in cooperation to fight terrorism. In August, US President Donald Trump had unveiled his South Asia policy which reiterated US support for the continuation of the military effort in war-torn Afghanistan and also outlined concerns over IS finding a foothold there.

According to Abdullah, the “full impact (of Trump’s policy) is yet to be seen. There’s no doubt the Taliban is under pressure and that’s why they are targeting cities. The real impact will show itself when the neighbouring countries, where the (terror) sanctuaries are, act." 

In his speech, Abdullah also commended the role played by India in stabilizing Afghanistan—in building infrastructure and supporting Afghanistan economically since 2001, when New Delhi pledged more than $3 billion for reconstruction in Afghanistan.

He said his country was thankful for India’s “soft power generosity" in building infrastructure, opening trade routes and providing quality education.

“This is why India is a rising world power and not just an emerging regional economy," Abdullah said, adding: “The foundation for our bilateral relations is not accidental, nor is it a temporary phenomenon. Regardless of evolving politics or shifting interests by governments."

India has committed $3 billion for various projects in Afghanistan, where it has built schools, roads and a new parliament building.

The two countries recently started an air freight service connecting New Delhi and Kabul, which transports fruits and dry fruits to India.

There is also talk of another air service link between Kabul and Amritsar. India has also organized several trade fairs and exhibitions to promote Afghan products and goods in the country.

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