India, Afghans Not Enjoying Pak Cooperation – But Afghans Are Smart: Ata Mohammad Noor
By Rohit E David
January 15, 2016
Ata Mohammad Noor, a former mujahideen, is governor of Balkh province in Afghanistan and personally helped defend the Indian consulate at Mazar-iSharif when it was attacked by heavilyarmed militants alongside the Pathankot terror strike. Speaking with Rohit E David, Noor discussed Pakistan’s role in fomenting militancy in India and Afghanistan, a stable Afghanistan being vital for the region – and why he protected India’s interests himself:
Is it clear now that Pakistan encourages extremism in both Afghanistan and India?
Extremism has very deep roots in the region. Both these countries today are victims of this – but extremism isn’t for the benefit of any country. It finally eats at the roots of its own motherland.
Afghanistan has indicated Pakistan over the Indian embassy attack – how can Pakistan be trusted now?
I’ve always emphasised that a stable and secure Afghanistan will require friendly cooperation from its neighbours – it’s sad that due to many reasons, we haven’t been enjoying that kind of friendly and healthy cooperation from Pakistan.
However, we are hoping that the recent trilateral talks would have an outcome. Even though it might be difficult to trust, I do believe we need to convince our neighbours that they can only enjoy peace if Afghanistan is secure. A stable Afghanistan is a stable Pakistan and India.
How do ordinary Afghans envision Pakistan today?
Afghans are a very hospitable people. They treat all neighbours in a good and respectful way. We hope that intentions change to good and positive, so that we can all share mutual cooperation.
Afghans are very smart too – they differentiate good from bad. Whoever treats us well will be respected – those who deceive us will finally fall in their own trap.
During the attack in Afghanistan, you went out with your own arms to protect the Indian embassy – how come?
India’s presence in Afghanistan is based on a mutual contract. The safety of Indian diplomats and diplomats of other countries is our top priority. I deemed it my own responsibility to take arms, go out and defend our Indian brothers during a bad moment.
I am personally not the sort of person who sits behind my desk, within locked doors, leading operations. I am a man of action and I was at the scene five minutes from the incident starting. I helped with coordination that resulted in finishing all the insurgents with very low casualties to civilians or military.
We have a message of peace and solidarity for our Indian brothers and sisters now. Our bond goes back many years. I have been to India a few times. Those were my best trips when I was warmly received by the great Indian nation.
My message to India now is that we will be standing with you in your good and, God forbid, bad days. The Indian ambassador to Kabul is a fantastic diplomat and has also done a lot to bring the two nations together.
I was thrilled too when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to Afghanistan and gave us a new Parliament building.
Source: The Times of India, New Delhi