U.S. pullout worsened Afghan crisis: Ashraf Ghani

Tight spot: President Ashraf Ghani inspecting a guard of honour as he arrives at the Parliament in Kabul.   | Photo Credit: STRINGER

The Afghan President on Monday blamed the American troops’ speedy pullout for the worsening violence in his country and said that his administration would now focus on protecting provincial capitals and major urban areas in the face of the rapidly advancing Taliban.

Ashraf Ghani also urged lawmakers to back a national mobilisation drive against the Taliban amid an intensifying war between the Taliban and Afghan government forces over the past few months as U.S. and NATO troops complete their pullout from the war-torn country.

“An imported, hasty” peace process — a reference to Washington’s push for negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban — “not only failed to bring peace but created doubt and ambiguity” among Afghans, Mr. Ghani said in his address to Parliament.

The Afghan President arrived by helicopter for the extraordinary session of the house, called because of the dire situation on the ground.

The Taliban are now trying to seize provincial capitals after already taking large swaths of land and scores of districts in more rural areas, as well as several key border crossings with neighbouring countries.

“The Taliban do not believe in lasting or just peace,” Mr. Ghani said. He predicted a sea change on the battlefield “in the next six months” that would push the Taliban back, without elaborating.

He claimed that Afghan forces are up to the task and have the “capacity” to defeat the insurgents. But in past weeks, Afghan forces have struggled against the Taliban onslaught, and have often been left without reinforcements and resupplies.

On Sunday, the Afghan armed forces spokesman, Gen. Ajmal Omar Shinwari, told reporters that three provinces in southern and western Afghanistan face critical security situations. Southern Kandahar — the birthplace of the Taliban — as well as Helmand and Herat provinces have witnessed several attacks.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 10:21:24 PM |

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