President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammed Ashraf Ghani interviewed with World Apart Network on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 20th of July 2015.
Oksana Boyko: The War on Terror unleashed the terrors of war on South Asia and the Middle East, with the goal of eliminating extremism. But more than a decade and a half later, that extremism has morphed into something almost unrecognizable, threatening the very structures of borders, states and the regional order. How does one fight an enemy that combines the worst of medieval thinking with the best of modern technology? Well, to discuss that, I’m now joined by the President of Afghanistan, Mohammed Ashraf Ghani. Mr President, it’s a great honour to have you on the show, thank you very much.
Mohammed Ashraf Ghani: It’s a pleasure to be with you, thank you for having me.
OB:Mr President, we are speaking on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and one of the issues that was discussed here at length is the growth of the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh as Americans refer to it. And the issue of how you call them is interesting, because it’s a choice between the extremists’ self-aggrandizing spin, the Islamic State, or the American, rather derogatory spin. Doesn’t this framing limit how we conceptualize this challenge, and how we ultimately deal with it?
MAG: Well, first of all, we need to make three distinctions. One is an ecology. Terrorism is a system now. Morally, it’s an aberration, sociologically it’s a systemic phenomenon. Second, it is a morphology. If Al-Qaeda was terrorism version one, Daesh is terrorism version six. It’s a fast-changing phenomenon, and one needs to grasp it in its own terms, not imposed categories from outside. Third, there’s a pathology. It’s brutal. The form of brutality is increasing. But it’s also the theatre of terror. Its actions are designed to overwhelm, to strike fear and to frighten. All these need to be taken together as a system. What enables it? The weakness of the state system, the lack of coherence in the national system. Terrorism as an organization and as network is fast, it’s rapid, it’s decisive. The response to it is fragmented, partial and episodic.
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