New Delhi: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday called for a united regional and global front to fight the “new ecology of terror”, very brutal and “morphing very rapidly” that Afghanistan is experiencing and also outlined his vision of recreating his country as a “roundabout” to become the hub of South and Central Asian trade and transit.
In his keynote address at the Indian Council of World Affairs, Ghani said: “What do we view ourselves, certainly not as a battlefield for proxy war, certainly not as a space to be contested over, certainly not as a buffer to be dominated. What we offer is a model of cooperation, a platform where all can come togethera to build solid institutions and all can live in comfort and dignity”.
He outlined his vision of an interconnected Asia, with a “continental economy”, where in some years one could “begin with having breakfast in Delhi, lunch in Peshawar and dinner in Kabul”.
“I hope that what is immensely possible can actually be achievable,” said Ghani.
On terror, he spoke very strongly. “All must mobilise to fight terror,” he said.
Among the challenges that the new ecology of terror posed, he said, are that it is “morally reprehensible, morphing very rapidly”.
He said terrorism is becoming “embedded within the criminal economy” and that “unprecedented finance is being made available to it”.
Terrorism is becoming very brutal, it is “focused on brutality to overpower the population” and it is becoming networked rapidly, he said.
“It kills for the sake of killing”, he said and added that Afghanistan was seeing all the different facets “at a single theatre”.
He said the main threat is due to lack of coordination to fight terrorism.
On his vision of Afghanistan, Ghani said it had the advantage of location, of a roundabout – “a place where all ideas, people, goods come and go out of”, that existed a few hundreds of years ago.
He said his country’s location is key and all roads to Central and South Asia have to lead to Afghanistan.
The second advantage is of Afghanistan’s mineral resources, with the world’s largest copper and iron reserves and also 14 of the 17 rare earths.
“With India and China’s transformation, this natural wealth awaits to become part of the continental economy,” Ghani said.