Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refuted what he termed as the Pakistani perception about India’s growing influence in Afghanistan.

“Like Pakistan, Afghanistan is an independent country and has the right to have relations with anyone. India is our long-time friend. But I assure Pakistan that no one can use our soil against Pakistan and any other country,” Karzai, who served as the longest Afghan President and is still considered as an influential leader, said.

Karzai on Monday told a group of Pakistani journalists in Kabul that he would visit Pakistan after the holy month of Ramadan on the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“I would love to (play a role for peace). I am hopeful the visit would bring some good results,” the Afghan leader said, Daily Times reported. Nawaz Sharif had extended invitation to Karzai last year, which was renewed four times.

“I want to have in-depth discussions with political and military leaders. I will talk to the military… Pakistan and Afghanistan are not enemies, but twins,” he said, adding that he would travel to Pakistan as an Afghan national and not as a representative of the government.

“I will … (make) an appeal to the Pakistani leaders to look at the situation both countries are facing. I will argue that both countries can overcome the problems,” he said.

He said he was sad at the casualties on both sides during last week’s cross-border shelling along the Chaman border.

The former Afghan President threw weight behind the ongoing regional initiative launched by Russia, in which key regional countries are its members, including China, Pakistan, Iran and India. He said Russia was playing a “peace role” with the help of regional countries.

He lashed out at the US policies in Afghanistan and accused it of introducing the Islamic State phenomena in his war-ravaged country.

To a question about the controversy over the border, the Afghan leader claimed that no government in Afghanistan would recognise the Durand Line.

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