Ghani welcomes Trump’s strategy on Afghanistan; Abdullah terms it a chance for Taliban not invitation

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KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday welcomed the announcement of the new US strategy on Afghanistan, saying that the decision unveils an enduring commitment by United States as a key partner of the Afghan government.

“I am grateful to President Trump and the American people for this affirmation of support for our efforts to achieve self-reliance and for our joint struggle to rid the region from the threat of terrorism,” Ghani said in a statement issued by Presidential Palace hours after Trump’s strategy announcement.

“The new strategy will increase the capacity in the Resolute Support mission,” Ghani said in the statement. “It will particularly lay emphasis on enhancing the Afghan air power, doubling the size of the Afghan Special Force and deepening NATO’s ability to train, advice and assist Afghan security forces.”

“Following this strategy towards stability allows the region to work together in achieving mutual goals of peace and prosperity, and provide a clear pathway for the regional countries to end support for non-state actors,” Ghani added.

“The strength of our security forces should show the Taliban and others cannot win a military victory. The objective of peace is paramount. Peace remains our priority,” he added.

The Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, at a press conference Tuesday said the Afghan government’s message to the Taliban and their supporters is that the new strategy is not an invitation to peace but a chance to strengthen the peace process.

Abdullah said: “Our message to our neighbors is that the new US policy is a chance for them (Pakistan) to utilize and benefit from this opportunity.”

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