By Madalena Araujo, CNN
Afghanistan is ready to collaborate in the fight against the Taliban, the Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah – the de-facto prime minister – told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday in an exclusive interview.
Abdullah’s remarks came as mass funerals got underway for the 145 victims, most of them children, of Tuesday’s massacre carried out by the Taliban at a school for the children of those in the military in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.
The “sincere and genuine cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan will help” tackle the terrorist threat, Abdullah said, adding that “there is a new phase of relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
“And the situation which didn't exist before, it was only blame game and we knew that Taliban enjoyed sanctuaries and free right and the leadership are still there and the situation is very clear what I'm talking about."
"So it is the right moment for all of us to decide once and for all that terrorists will not serve any country's national interest.”
“And to deal with them in an outright manner and even to honor the losses and the sacrifices that Pakistani army has made in dealing with Taliban and fighting against the Taliban or Pakistani people have made, the right way to honor is to deal with it in an outright manner. And Afghanistan is ready to cooperate.”
Pakistan’s top army chief flew on Tuesday to Kabul for emergency talks with the recently elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, suggesting the two countries, which have long been embroiled in a bitter blame game over who is the main enabler of terrorism, might be ready to join forces against their common enemy.
“There is not doubt that [the] Afghan government believes that terrorism, radicalism is a common threat. If there is anything that we can do to prevent people crossing to our side of the border and making use of our territory, we will not hesitate.”
Abdullah also said that Afghanistan “never made any distinction between good terrorists and bad terrorists,” referring to Pakistan’s alleged support for militant groups.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced on Tuesday “that the distinction between good and bad Taliban will not be continued at any level.”
“I talked to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Ashraf Ghani talked to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and if there is one lesson in what has happened in Pakistan, [is] that these terrorists no wonder what's the history of them, or what they were doing earlier, at the end of the day, they will turn against every state and every state institutions.”
“So the sooner that decision and that critical decision of not making any distinction between good one and bad one among the terrorists is taken, that will be in the better interest of all of us.”
As Pakistan’s Prime Minister declared three days of national mourning over the horrifying massacre, Abdullah said that “when this tragedy took place in Pakistan, Afghanistan was also mourning.”
“Today, our national leadership has reiterated this vow of solidarity and has decided that we will continue this war as long as there is even one terrorist remaining on our soil.”
Afghanistan has also seen an upsurge in Taliban attacks in recent weeks as international forces prepare to pull out of the country.
Abdullah acknowledged the increase in bloodshed, but said “we are pretty sure with the continuation of support from the international community and Resolute Support Mission, which NATO decided, which will start first January 2015, the support for our forces and training, assisting and support mission will continue and we will be able to deal with it.”
“If [the] Taliban have any illusion of taking over parts of Afghanistan or Afghanistan as a whole. That's an illusion, absolutely. Talibanization and radical ideas have been rejected by our people.”
Click above to watch the full interview.