In an interview with Time Magazine, President Ghani has said that he has been the only person who never asked U.S. for anything, referring to the possible deployment of an additional 3,000-5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“My relationship with both President Obama and President Trump is not to ask for things. President Obama called me on his last day in office and said the only person who never asked him for anything was me.”
Ghani said he is not getting into the executive decision-making process of his partner countries. He said it has to be “interest-based”, it has to be a “factual and demonstrable” set of propositions.
“The security transition [with the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014 and the departure of most foreign troops] is a done thing. There is no global appetite, there is no Afghan appetite, for a resumption of that scale of presence,” Ghani said. “We need to put this to rest because if there are questions regarding this, the consensus will break.”
The Afghan President said that what they need is the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission’s advise, train and assist, the way it is defined and also it’s in their bilateral security agreement.
“In these functions, the numbers that have been proposed are the right numbers,” Ghani said.
In response the question whether Afghan forces can hold back the insurgents without a significant surge in international troops Ghani said:
“We can hold [them back], because, again, we need to see, 2015 [the year after the end of the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan] was a battle for survival. We did everything the Taliban, Pakistan and others were saying, we brought a massive reduction of security forces. But instead of coming to consensus over a political solution in Afghanistan, they accelerated the fight.”
President Ghani further said that the Taliban and their backers have had two goals, first to overthrow the government and second to create two political geographies.
“They were able to take Kunduz momentarily. But except for that they have not been able to take a single major [provincial] capital,” he added.
In other part of his speech, the President referred to the role of regional countries in Afghanistan particularly Russia who is based on the suggestion by General Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was supplying the Taliban insurgents.
“The first issue is we need Russia to be part of the consensus for a stable Afghanistan. Second, our request to the Russians is that we do not become part of a global chess game, a tit-for-tat for other situations. Russia would lose and harm its own interests if it armed the Taliban or other groups.”