At the Munich Security Conference Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani started his remarks by trying to better understand the current wave of international terrorism the world has been facing since 2001, when Al Qaida attacked the heart of global liberalism in New York City.

In Mr Ashraf Ghani’s view, Islamic terrorism, of which ISIS is only the latest incarnation, fits neatly into a narrative of consecutive waves of non-state actors rebelling against the international state system. In this context the current wave of “political violence and asymmetric war” constitutes the 5th wave in a line of comparable phenomena. The preceding four are:

1. Anarchism

2. National self-determination

3. New Left in japan, the US, and Europe

4. Jihad against the Soviet Union and Violence in Sri Lanka

The 5th wave is closely connected with technological developments and the response to this new enemy is hindered by the inability of the global community to cooperate, Ashraf Ghani said.

The conflict in Afghanistan, he stressed, was not a civil war but mainly a matter of foreign influences in the country. “When I last spoke in Munich I warned about Daesh,” the President said, lamenting that his concerns were not taken seriously then. Now the biggest threat to Afghanistan’s security was the resurgence of Al Qaida.

Hinting at the Influence of Hamas and Iran in the Region, he claimed that the situation is worsened by state actors who support the terrorists and in some cases act like non-state actors themselves.

Despite all this, there was room for “cautious optimism in his speech. “An aligned strategy“, he believes, “could bring stability“. It would require action in 5 areas:

  • Global
  • Islamic
  • Regional
  • National
  • Sub-national

In all those regions, Mr Ashraf Ghani saw progress highlighting two specific reasons to be hopeful:

  • 40 countries have agreed to renew the “Resolute Support“ mission in Afghanistan. NATO is still fully alive and acting responsibly.
  • The Mekka declaration against terrorism is a positive sign that Muslims are working to figure out who can and who cannot speak in the name of Islam.