Ghani Calls for National Mobilization Against Taliban

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KABUL: Addressing an extraordinary session of the parliament, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday urged on the need for Afghans’ unity, calling for a national mobilization of the public against Taliban.

Ghani expressed his dissatisfaction of the current state of affairs, saying the US left Afghanistan with an “imported” and “hasty” process, that lead to “legitimizing an insurgent group instead of achieving peace.”

“The current situation is due to an unexpected decision on the withdrawal of the international troops, [but] the protection of the people is our duty,” he said.

“We have paid a high price for peace and showed great willingness, but instead, war was imposed on us,” Ghani added.

Pointing to the worsened security situation in the country, he said, “We do not have time to blame each other, we all face a great test. The Taliban are not the Taliban of the past, they have changed to become crueler.”

He emphasized on the unity of political leaders as the only way for dealing with the current affairs, saying, “We must go toward national mobilization, and we must all work for the national mobilization.”

Revealing the government’s plans to overcome the ongoing conflict in six months, he said, “The army is tasked to defend strategic goals, and the police are defending major cities.”

“All preparations have been made to repel this wave of sedition for the next six months in order to restore stability. An important element of this plan, along with government forces, is the mobilization of public forces,” he said.

The president also criticized those who he described as ‘silent’ over Taliban violence, calling it an attempt to “whitewash” the militant group.

“Our priority is to achieve lasting peace, but I see sedition in the Taliban. For those who whitewash this and say that the Taliban have changed, I repeat to them that they have become more violent and more hirelings,” he said.

The president reiterated that the group, instead of cutting ties with terrorist organizations, has further strengthened it.

The Afghan president stated that the nation “[would] not kneel before any destructive force. We either sit on our knees at the negotiating table or break their knees on the battlefield.”

These statements from Ghani come as conflicts reached unprecedented heights and capitals of several provinces are under extensive attacks from Taliban.