Afghanistan today lauded President Donald Trump for breaking America's "silence" on Pakistan providing sanctuaries to terrorists and embracing a strategy that gives the war-torn country what it needs. Trump, in his first prime-time televised address to the nation as commander-in-chief, ruled out a hasty withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan to end America's longest war.
He also warned Pakistan of consequences for providing safe havens to terrorists and sought an enhanced role for India to bring peace in the war-torn country.
Reacting to Trump's address, Afghanistan's Ambassador to the US Hamdullah Mohib thanked president Trump for breaking America's silence on Pakistan, which has been harbouring terrorists for attacks against its neighbours.
"We welcome this decision, which is the result of intense deliberations and takes into account both our countries' needs and considerations. This is the first time a focus has been put on what Afghanistan must have to succeed, and we are grateful for this outcome," Mohib said after Trump concluded his speech on Afghanistan and South Asia.
Mohib said Trump has embraced a strategy that gives Afghanistan what it needs, specifically a shift away from talking about timetables and numbers to letting conditions on the ground determine military strategy.
He also lauded the decision to integrate America's military, economic and political power to achieve shared goals.
The strategy also expands "authority to move swiftly against terrorist activities and criminal networks in place of micromanagement from Washington" and "a breaking of the silence over Pakistan's shelters and sanctuaries for terrorists", the Afghan Ambassador said.
"Like America, Afghanistan also wants an honourable and enduring outcome" to this fight, for all the Afghan, US, and NATO soldiers who have served and sacrificed to advance the cause of peace, Mohib said.
In his address, Trump slammed Pakistan for its continued support to terrorist groups and warned Islamabad of consequences if it continues to do so.
"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," Trump said. "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists," he said, in an apparent warning to Pakistan.
In his speech, Trump came down heavily on Pakistan for its support to terror groups, saying Islamabad receives billions in aid from the US but continues to harbour terrorists.
"In the past, Pakistan has been a valued partner. Our militaries have worked together against common enemies. The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism. We recognise those contributions and those sacrifices," Trump said.
"But Pakistan has also sheltered the same organisations that try every single day to kill our people," he added. Trump noted that the US has been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars but it continues to house the very terrorists that America is fighting.
"But that will have to change. That will change immediately. No partnership can survive a country's harbouring of militants and terrorists who target US service members and officials. It is time for Pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilisation, order, and to peace," Trump said.