Addressing extraordinary session of parliament, Ghani says US, international community support new security plan.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – The Afghan president Monday told an extraordinary joint session of the parliament a new security plan backed by the US and international community would bring the Taliban to their knees in six months.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani directed the country’s Interior and Defense Ministries as well as secret service NDS (National Directorate of Security) to expedite efforts to strengthen and streamline public uprising forces against the advancing Taliban. Ghani issued a stern warning to the Taliban to either engage in a meaningful dialogue for peace or face ultimate defeat on the battlefield.
“Our security plan is clear, without going into details, I would only say, all preparations are completed to defer this wave of ‘fitnah’. There is no doubt main elements of this plan is the public uprising along with the security forces,” he said.
Giving an idea of the plan, he added army would concentrate on the defense of strategic assets, the police would ensure security of strategic districts and cities while the NDS would take forward process of uprising process.
“For the implementation of this plan, in the leadership of the US we have the proper support of our international partners…the international financial and political support would remain with us,” said Ghani, adding Afghans have difficult decisions ahead of them.
“Our security plan is clear. We are all ready to end the insurgency in the next six months,” said the Afghan president.
“We have made our decision, the Taliban and their backers should make their decisions,” he added.
‘Ghani’s time is over’
The Taliban were quick to reject remarks of the Afghan president.
In a statement, the group said: “Ashraf Ghani’s statements were all ‘nonsense’, he was trying to control his bad situation and mistakes. The nation has decided to prosecute national traitors and bring them to justice. Declarations of war, accusations and misrepresentation cannot prolong life. His (Ghani’s) time is over.”
Last week the group expressed its apprehensions regarding President Ghani’s previous remarks on bringing peace and order in the coming six months.
“The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) also warns that in the next six months, the responsibility for any military transformation will fall on the leaders of the Kabul administration (Afghan government). The ‘Mujahideen’ of the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) will strongly defend their territories and the war by the enemy will continue. In that case, the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) will not remain on the defensive,” said the group in a statement last Friday.
The idea of militia had caused concerns among rights group with the Human Rights Watch calling for scarping the idea altogether. It had warned in a report that such militia with reduced training and potentially less oversight risks being yet another abusive militia operating outside the military’s chain of command.
Criticizing US-Taliban deal
In a veiled reference to the deal brokered by the US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad with the Taliban in Qatar last year, Ghani said the process hampered and sidelined the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and legitimized the insurgents. He said that this process not only did not lead to peace, but created ambiguity and suspicion leading to the current situation in Afghanistan.
“We’ll stand against the ‘fitnah’ (heretical uprising) to protect our democratic values. Our young democracy has problems but it’s the system of people by the people, so we are going to protect it,” said Ghani, adding the Taliban strengthened ties with international terrorists and have become more ‘brutal and un-Islamic’.
The Doha Agreement paved the way for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, launch of intra-Afghan peace talks, and release of some 5,000 key insurgent commanders from prisons.
Political analyst Syed Iqbal told Anadolu Agency the plan was never liked by the Afghan government. “Out of fear of losing the much-needed US support, the government remained quiet and did what it was asked to do, such as release of the Taliban. But now, as the Taliban are marching on cities in defiance of that deal (Doha Agreement), the Afghan government is frustrated and expressing its anger,” he said.
After overrunning nearly 200 rural districts, the Taliban began assaults on major cities on Friday as they marched on Herat city next to Iran, causing panic and anxiety in this third biggest city of an estimated half a million inhabitants.