Delivering a lecture in London, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has described the Pakistani Taliban as the “greatest threat to the region” and said his country is facing an “undeclared war” from Pakistan, which did not accept his offer of peace. His views about Pakistan are absolutely incendiary.

Ghani’s is a master-stroke of bad diplomacy and terrible fact checking. He said, “Can the state of Pakistan point out a single operation against the Haqqanis or the Taliban leadership?” disregarding the whole of the Zarb-e-Azb operation. Even if he thinks that Pakistan is an enemy state, the clichéd idiom, ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’, is a core part of statecraft. Diplomatic theory suggests that leaders take middle paths, so as to encourage their opponents to do the same. Hard statements only escalate the situation, ensuring harder and crueler responses. This is especially pertinent when a weaker state is dealing with a stronger one. Pakistan’s response till now has only been accommodating, considering we want to end terrorism, rather than turn Afghanistan into an enemy. Afghanistan, on the other hand, seems to be taking too much advice from India, and relying too much on global opinion against Pakistan, which may not really matter. No matter what the current stalemate between Pakistan and the US, we are a regional power, China is unequivocally on our side, and we still hold much more economic and strategic importance for the global community than a landlocked state like Afghanistan ever could.

Ghani is in it for the votes, rather than for national interest. But he can only win one game. That too, is uncertain. According to Afghan sources, peaceful protestors at the venue who spoke up over corruption and rule of warlords were kicked and pushed violently outside the venue by Ghani’s bodyguards. Politics in Afghanistan is a racket, and its people know it.

Terrorist sleeper cells have been caught in Punjab, and operatives have confessed that they get orders from Afghanistan. Pakistan’s fight against terrorism is stalled because of Afghanistan. The porous border, that Afghanistan refused to fence, and the missing security apparatus in Afghanistan makes the country a safe haven.

Had the leader of another country made the same allegations, say PM Modi from India, we would have seen the Foreign Office scrambling with refutations, borders getting heated and religious parties protesting and declaring war. If it wasn’t for fraternal bonds and security concerns, Pakistan’s official response might have been tougher.

This is Afghanistan, a “friendly” state, who’s people we have sheltered since the last 40 years, who’s Taliban movement has destroyed the lives of countless Pakistanis, giving births to splinters and snakes, and whose people would rather live and work in Pakistan, then have to be stuck in their homeland. What has Afghanistan ever given us in return, except pain and death?