Cricket is a symbol of “hope for treasure” in Afghanistan that is now battered by terrorism springing from safe havens in Pakistan, according to India’s UN Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin.
The immortal lines of the Sufi mystic poet Rumi, “Where there is ruin, there is also hope for treasure”, is the source of resilience for the Afghan people, Akbaruddin told the Security Council on Tuesday during a debate on Afghanistan.
He cited the emergence of the Afghan team as “the new sensation in the cricketing arena” as one of the symbols of this hope.
“Leaving behind the memories when sports was explicitly banned by the Taliban in Afghanistan,” the nation’s team has been “achieving extraordinary success, he said.
Having qualified for the next Cricket World Cup, Afghanistan played its first game as a Test cricket playing nation in June at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru when it took on India, he said.
“While having made cricket grounds in India their home base, Afghan cricketers have flourished,” he said, adding, “However, we look forward to the day when we too can play cricket with them on their soil.”
The resilience of the Afghan people was being tried by the terrorist onslaught like the spring offensive from the Taliban that has taken many lives, he said.
“Such offensives are planned and launched from safe havens in the neighborhood of Afghanistan,” Akbaruddin said pointing fingers at Pakistan.
“Notwithstanding the efforts made by the international community there are still those who provide sanctuaries to support the dark agendas of terrorist organisations like the Taliban, Haqqani Network, IS, Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad,” he said.
He warned that the terrorism problem of Afghanistan was a global challenge with a reminder that “the same safe havens that sheltered (the late Taliban leader) Mullah Omar also sheltered Osama bin Laden,” the Al Qaeda leader who launched the 9/11 assaults on the US in 2001 and other attacks around the world.
Bin Laden was killed by US Navy Seals in Abbottobad and Omar died in Karachi even as the world was looking for them.
“We do not need a catastrophe again to remind us that Afghanistan requires strong and steady international support in the elimination of what is a threat to global peace and security,” he added.