By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: During an interview with CNN late on Sunday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said that no religious justification left for war in the country, pointing to foreign troops withdrawal and Taliban’s bloodshed campaign.
Hinting to a question that if he is an obstacle before peace, the president said that he was the one to secure first ceasefire in 2018 in Afghanistan. “I have never been an obstacle and in preparation for Istanbul conference, I went to my nation and clearly indicated that I was willing to reduce my elected term of office, but my condition was a democratic succession, where the people of Afghanistan decide on the succession.”
The president rejected any military parallels with the US wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, dismissing concerns that the country would face imminent collapse after American forces are withdrawn.
“It’s time for recalculation; for us it is an opportunity, and for Taliban and Pakistan a moment of choice,” the president said, adding that no religious justification left for war and the ball is clearly at the court of Taliban and their supporters.
Answering a question on women’s future after US troops withdrawal, the president said: “There is risk, but the women of Afghanistan now speak for themselves, organize for themselves, and have turned into a nation-wide movement. If Taliban want to be a stakeholder in the future, they need to recognize the women of Afghansitan inspired to the freedom, that was existed at the time of Prophet Mohammad.”
The president also said that it was a moment of choice for Pakistan, as according to him all its calculation had been wrong, adding that verbally the leaders of Pakistan fortunately call that they do not want a Taliban government in Afghanistan and that they would like to see a stable and democratic Afghanistan.
President Ghani said it was time Afghanistan won back its sovereignty after 20 years of American and international presence. “In the past two years, Afghan defense and security forces have been carrying out over 90 per cent of the operations,” he told CNN. “The risks were taken 20 years ago by the US and international forces.”
President Ghani said thousands of Afghan soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against the Taliban. “We are shifting from a predominantly military partnership to a partnership based on humanitarian and economic co-operation.”
The president added: “We aren’t Vietnam and I reject all these false analogies that Afghanistan is another Vietnam.” He added: “The US was not in Afghanistan for a big power competition. The region needs to wake up to this reality and Afghanistan will seek to be a permanently neutral country and won’t be a battleground for proxy wars.”
US President Joe Biden said last week that all 2,500 American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 this year. The US-led invasion of Afghanistan started in October 2001 after Al Qaeda’s September 11 attacks on the America.
The invasion in pursuit of Al Qaeda’s leadership toppled the hardline Taliban regime, who have waged an insurgency ever since.
Since 2014, Afghan forces assumed full security responsibility, while NATO agreed to remain in a new, non-combat capacity to train and develop troops.