By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said Tuesday evening that the Republic system represents a wide range of parties and groups – something the Taliban cannot accommodate. NSA Mohib said Tuesday all special forces from the army, police, and NDS, have been brought together under one command in preparation for US and NATO troops withdrawal.
In a conversation with the Hudson Institute’s Director for South and Central Asia Husain Haqqani, NSA Mohib said these troops are highly trained and have already been effective against Daesh, al-Qaeda and Taliban.
US and NATO have built these units up and trained them and they are dedicated to defending their people against terrorism, he said. These are forces that have been trained by the best, he said adding that they currently carry out almost 97 percent of offenses in the country.
NSA Mohib also pointed out that this winter has “been the bloodiest of all”. Taliban changed tactics and continued their violence across the country and the ANDSF has been solely responsible for the country’s protection. Occasionally help was sought from the US for air support, he said
“If we are not prepared for war, we cannot make peace,” he added.
According to him, the ANDSF has kept up its momentum and can hold its own but government cannot sustain the security forces financially on their own. He says they have discussed this with the new US administration to support them and to provide technical assistance for a longer period.
Mohib explained the Republic system represents a wide range of parties and groups – something the Taliban cannot accommodate. He said if the interests of some of these groups aren’t represented they could become an insurgent group
Mohib stated that the Taliban has not changed since they were in power 20 years ago but said it appears as if the Taliban is having problems “inspiring” its fighters. Many Taliban don’t believe in this war anymore, he said adding that this comes after countries and Ulemas have said there is no legitimacy to the war.
“We are seeing a weakening Taliban rank-and-file”, he said adding that the ANDSF continues to show its strength despite the increased level of violence by the Taliban.
Mohib stated that the ANDSF is capable of defending its country against an insurgency and terrorism and counter narcotics “should it have continued financial support.”
On the issue of a financial commitment Mohib said combat troops in Afghanistan are involved in counter-terrorism operations and propose that if they withdraw these troops, the current support, about $5 million dollars, should be channeled through the ANDSF.
This he said would be used to counter terrorism, counter insurgency and counter narcotics.
According to Mohib, the Afghan Republic’s negotiating team has said they don’t see any change in the Taliban since it was in power.
“We are yet to see the change in Taliban’s posture, in Taliban’s opinion, and in Taliban’s policies that we all hoped had come.”
“We don’t know what that changed Taliban looks like yet because we haven’t seen a change,” Mohib said.
He also said the people “fear the Taliban” adding that the Taliban is not the only reality of the country, but just a “part of reality”.
The Afghan negotiating team has engaged Taliban with consistency and urgency including on a ceasefire but stated the Taliban has turned out to be “underwhelming” at the talks tables and have “dragged their feet” and sometimes avoided negotiations.
But Mohib said government is pursuing all avenues for peace and will not be the first one to pull out of talks.
The Afghan government remains open to any initiative that will bring Afghanistan closer to peace – this includes initiatives such as the Turkey summit, Mohib said.
According to him, the Afghan government would also be open to a power-sharing deal with the Taliban but that the issue lies with the “differences of opinion” between the Republic and the Taliban. He said such a deal on its own would be “easy” but with different ideologies sealing a power-sharing deal alone would not solve what the people want – a stable government with a system that answers to their needs.