FILE - The U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, talks with reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 18, 2018.
Afghanistan: A senior political leader of the Afghan Taliban had said that there is no need for the Afghan National Army (ANA) to exist after U.S. withdrawal from the country.
A video issued by a senior Taliban member, and former head of the Qatar office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, has created new controversy amid ongoing peace talks for a U.S. exit from Afghanistan. In the video, the senior Taliban leader hinted that the current army was illegitimate as it had been established with the help of the US.
Stanikzai had been discussing the Doha talks between the Taliban and the United States. In the video, Stanikzai said once the US forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan, there would be no need for an army in Afghanistan.
Responding to Stanekzai’s comments, President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said that those forcing people to hold peace talks must avoid discussing the issue of dissolving the country’s army.
He said: “Those who are forcefully bringing others to negotiate must not talk about dissolving our “lions” (army); if they are so brave, then they must come and fight on the battlefield instead of carrying out suicide (attacks) and explosions,” Ghani said.
Ghani said that the country’s security forces are improving and getting stronger and will eventually be able to work without foreign assistance.
He said however they would never accept a peace agreement that’s not sustainable.
“A peace that our security and defense forces do not guarantee is not acceptable to us,” Ghani added.
“Our security and defense forces are not one-day forces, one year and one decade and a generation, but forces that fight for hundreds of generations,” Ghani added.