Following the reports of high number of casualties to government forces in the ongoing conflict, President Ashraf Ghani says his heart not only breaks for the Afghan military forces but also for the Taliban fighters who are engaged in 17-year-old battle in his war-weary country.
“The worst part of my job is early morning, I get my first security briefing and I get the casualty figures. It is not just that my heart breaks for our security forces who are true heroes but also for Taliban; they are Afghans and I am the president of all Afghanistan,” Ghani said in an interview with VICE News on Thursday (Sept. 13).
Some political commentators said that comparing the security forces to the Taliban is a “mistake”. “The president probably made the remarks in order to build trust in process of paece talks [with the Taliban],” said a political analyst Mohammad Yaqub Watanmal.
Referring to the Taliban’s last month’s major attack in strategic province of Ghazni that lasted several days, Ghani stressed that when they have received the correct information, the security forces have recovered the province within 12 hours.
“The first 72 hours, the right information didn’t come, it was failure of intelligence,” he told VICE News. “The minute the right intelligence came, within 12 hours we recovered the city.”
Despite of growing security issues in parts of the country along with political issues around elections and peace process, Ghani said that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan to win the war against the Taliban is working.
“For the first time, the possibility of peace is really at hand,” Ghani said.
The president insisted that there is reason to believe that this time will be different, pointing to the Eid al-Fitr ceasefire between government forces and Taliban as a proof that the country is moving forward towards peace.
“The ceasefire showed that this country is ready for reconciliation,” Ghani said. “We are offering to overcome the past grievances and move forward and this I think is genuine because if they insist on a military victory that’s something the Afghans will not accept.”
In part of his speech, he also warned that if U.S. troops were to withdraw, the country would become a breeding ground for terrorism.