As insecurity grows in parts of the country along with political issues around elections and the peace process, President Ashraf Ghani says the US strategy to win the war against the Taliban is working.
“For the first time, the possibility of peace is really at hand,” President Ghani said in an interview with VICE News on September 13.
But the country’s security situation offers little to be hopeful about. The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan reached a record high in the first half of the year according to a UN report in July.
The report said the covering period, 1 January to 30 June 2018, findings include the killing of more civilians in the first six months of this year – 1,692 deaths – than at any comparable time over the last ten years since records have been kept.
Deaths rose 1 percent to 1,692, although injuries dropped 5 percent to 3,430, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in its latest civilian casualty report. Overall civilian casualties were down 3 percent.
Many areas in the country are either under Taliban’s control or have remain contested between government forces and militants, according to security officials. Over 200 people have been killed since mid-August in deadly incidents in Kabul and Nangarhar.
Despite all these challenges, talking to the VICE News, President Ghani insisted that there is reason to believe that this time will be different. He pointed 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 in the interview. “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.”
This comes after President Ghani at a gathering in Kabul on Thursday talked in favor of the US’s South Asia Strategy for Afghanistan and said “Afghans waited for the US’s South Asia Strategy for the past 40 years”.
“The US strategy for Afghanistan and the South Asia strategy is a thing for which the people of Afghanistan were waiting for forty years,” said Ghani.