Indonesian President Vows Peace Support In Landmark Visit To Kabul
AVA- Indonesian President Joko Widodo arrived in Kabul on a formal visit on Monday. The snow-covered Kabul gave a warm welcome to the president who was welcomed by Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danesh, Foreign Minister Salahudin Rabbani and Finance Minister Eklil Hakimi among others at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Later, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani welcomed his Indonesian counterpart at the presidential palace. Flags of the two countries had already been erected on major roads of Kabul City.
President Widodo visited Kabul after he met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad, where he told Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussian that his country could play a role in the Afghan peace process.
Meanwhile he also suggested the formation of a committee of religious scholars from Indonesia, Pakistan and Afghanistan to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Indonesian President Joko Widodo attended a press conference after holding bilateral talks at the presidential palace.
President Ghani thanked the Indonesian leader for his visit and the condolences that Widodo expressed for the victims of the attack in Kabul, saying “Your visit came at the time that Afghans mourning martyring of their beloved ones by the terrorists.”
“You are the biggest Muslim community in the world. Your visit to Afghanistan and praying together with us in Arg Mosque showing our deep relations which existed from centuries ago,” the President told his visiting Indonesian counterpart during the press conference.
Calling Indonesia as one of the biggest democracies in the world, President Ghani said Afghans were waving the friendly country’s flag when achieved its independence and our elite figure Abdul Hadi Dawi was appointed as our first ambassador to Indonesia.
“At that time your capacities were low even it was said that you didn’t have more than 40 engineers. But you are now one of the major economic powers in the world,” the President noted.
Calling Indonesia, a symbol of unity among tribes and religions, the President said Indonesians saw linguistic differences as an opportunity rather than a threat. The president said his Indonesia counterpart came to presidency through legitimate votes of his nation and called him a symbol of democracy and accountability.
The president thanked his Indonesia counterpart for hosting him last year as well as welcoming a delegation of the Afghan High Peace Council, saying his visit came at a crucial situation in Afghanistan. “Afghans are guest-loving people. Based on our tradition we postponed our praying ceremonies for the martyrs of the recent deadly attacks only to welcome our guest.”
Meanwhile President Ghani said that the Taliban was carrying out attacks in Afghanistan on the orders of their masters. But in a show of support for security forces he said: “I salute the bravery of our security forces, especially the police who are our first line of defense against these cowardly suicide bombers. Reforms in our intelligence services and Ministry of Interior are our top priority now.”
“Taliban must choose between Islam and terrorism, between humanity and barbarism,” President Ghani said a day after Afghans observed a day of national mourning following Saturday’s deadly ambulance bombing that killed at least 103 people.
President Ghani said if the Taliban really believes in Islam and humanity, then the group must separate itself from barbarism and puppets of religious manipulators and intelligence agencies.
“Those who consider themselves Muslims and Afghans must now separate themselves, in words and actions, from those barbaric puppets of religious manipulators and intelligence agencies,” he said, adding that today Afghans are at a crossroads in the country’s history and must take decisive and clear steps to bring lasting stability to the country.
“We can no longer wait for peace to come to us, we must win it through collective national resolve,” the President said.
President Ghani also thanked Afghanistan’s international partners who supported the country during difficult times and urged other nations to act against what he described as state sponsorship of terrorism.
“We appreciate the sympathies extended by our international partner nations. Thank you for standing with us. It is also an infliction point for our partners. Afghans expect our partners to condemn and take all possible action against state-sponsor of terrorism,” President Ghani said.
The President went on to say that Islam is for all Muslims. Those who distinguish between Muslims, in their Fatwas, by arbitrary lines for their political gains and legitimize the massacre of Muslims are war criminals and must be sanctioned.
The president also briefly touched on the political developments in the country and asked Afghan political elites to come together and unite to defeat terrorism.
“Afghan political elite must rise above petty politics and unite to serve our people and defend our nation and country against state-sponsored, regional, and international terrorism.”
Concluding his remarks, President Ghani said he will speak to the nation and present more details about the next steps once his Indonesian counterpart departs.
Meanwhile President Widodo of Indonesia in turn said his government will establish an Islamic center in Afghanistan and continue to stand by the country.
He also says Indonesia is ready to help Afghanistan with various projects.
The Indonesian president went on saying that his country remains committed with Afghanistan and would spare no effort to bring peace and stability in the country.