Marking 28th anniversary of Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan on Tuesday, President Ashraf Ghani said that Eastern Europe and Central Asia would remain in servitude if Afghans didn't conquer war against the invaders.
Ghani said the Afghan jihad changed the course of world’s history and it not only liberated Afghanistan, but it helped end of dictatorship in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world.
“If there were no 1.5 million Afghan martyrs, Eastern Europe and Central Asia would remain in servitude,” Ghani said at a ceremony in presidential palace that included several elites.
Soviet invaded Afghanistan in 1979 and remained in the country until 1989. The conflict left more than a million killed and millions more displaced.
Drawing a contrast with current fighting by the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ghani said that there was no suicide attacks, destruction of mosques or schools and killing of innocent people.
“If jihad in the past was for freedom, at present it is for rebuilding,” he said.
Referring to a peace agreement with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizbe-Islami group, Ghani said that the deal facilitated return of a number of “our mujahid brothers,” back to their homeland.
The president reiterated call on Taliban to lay down arms and live with their compatriots with dignity.
This year’s anniversary comes amid reports that Russia supports anti-government forces Taliban in Afghanistan, though Moscow denies the allegations.
During the event, Afghanistan’s Lower House Speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi echoed that saying Russia is interfering in Afghan affairs and aims to strengthen the Taliban.