Afghanistan's neighbours like Pakistan and Iran are actively helping its enemies to further their own interests and this has to end for peace and economic stability in the country, Afghan diplomat Masood Khalili has said.
The ambassador of Afghanistan to Spain and son of great Afghan poet Ustad Khalilullah Khalili has recently come out with a book, "Whispers of War: An Afghan Freedom Fighter's Account of the Soviet Invasion", in which he describes his travels through the high mountains to mobilise people against the invading Red Army.
Afghanistan is a place that has come a long way since the times of 'Whispers of War', which was written in 1986, he says.
"We beat the Red Army, then we had a civil war with different war lords, then came the Taliban and now is the time of America and the rest of the world," Khalili told PTI.
"In the last 17 or more years since the fall of the Taliban and the introduction of a constitution and then three elections, we have not only had the building of all our institutions, a relatively stable economy and two presidents, we have a society of people that work to build a better Afghanistan.
"More than 4 million boys and girls go to school, more than 300,000 men and women in the army and police, and the most vibrant and free media in the region. Afghanistan has changed tremendously but we still have much more things to do," he says.
However, "we still are at war and fighting against the Taliban, al Qaeda to a small extent and now even Daesh. Our neighbours like Pakistan and Iran are actively helping our enemies to further their own interests. And we still have a large population of very poor. These are things that we need to work on to overcome," he says.
According to Khalili, most Afghans are still hopeful that their country can have peace sometimes in the near future. The people, he says, may not have confidence in the government but they have also not raised the flag of the Taliban either.
"We are at a very crucial phase where our government needs to work 150 per cent to bring peace and economic stability in the country because our enemies are actively working to bring all of this to a stop. We must always keep the candle of hope alive. The second our people lose the candle of hope, we lose everything," he says.
There is also mention of a brief conversation between the author and military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud in the book, published by Sage, on the situation in Afghanistan today.
When Khalili asks Massoud what would happen once the war against the Soviets is won, the latter replies: "It will not be easy at all. Every post-war situation is harder than even the war itself, especially in Afghanistan with its strategically difficult location. Undoubtedly the fight for freedom is difficult but when you finally win freedom, you need stability and stronger leadership."