Bloomberg: President Ghani seeks re-election to complete unfinished works

In his recent interview with Bloomberg, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has revealed he is seeking re-election next year to “finish the job” of bringing to an end the 17-year war that’s maimed and killed tens of thousands of people and cost the U.S. more than $900 billion.
The Taliban and other terrorist groups are trying “to turn our beautiful country into a breeding ground of violence,” President Ghani, 69, said in an interview on Thursday in his office in Kabul, adorned with a huge portrait of an 18th century king widely regarded as the founder of Afghanistan. “We have to pursue peace, a lasting, just and sustainable peace.”
He said democratic stability was his priority. “The elections must produce a leader with a mandate to move Afghanistan forward, put an end to the inherited crises of the last 39 years.”
Forty percent of Afghans live below the poverty line, President Ghani said to Bloomberg, adding that job creation and the development of labor-intensive industries were vital to the country’s future.
Taliban Stonewalls
Both President Ghani and the U.S. are struggling to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table. The resurgent militant group controls or contests almost half of the nation’s territory, and is increasingly displacing people and using narcotics to fund its deadly campaign, which wounded or killed more than 10,000 Afghan civilians last year alone.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year ordered that peace talks be jump started to end his country’s longest war. His administration appointed Zalmay Khalilzad in September as an U.S. envoy on Afghan reconciliation.
Soon after, Khalilzad met with Taliban leaders in the Qatari capital, Doha, to discuss peace and the release of Taliban prisoners, according to Taliban spokesman ZabihullahMujahed. The meeting worked. The Pakistani government, accused of supporting the group in Afghanistan, released the deputy and co-founder of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who many Afghans see as a supporter of talks, after he spent eight years in prison. Pakistan denies helping the militants.
Although the militant group met the U.S. envoy, it has repeatedly rejected President Ghani’s offer for direct talks because it deems his government as illegitimate. The Taliban said it will only hold direct talks with President Ghani after the withdrawal of American forces from the war-torn country, something that has been rejected by the U.S. and Afghanistan.
“We need to bring us all to a level of cooperation, not confrontation,” President Ghani said. Lasting peace will help the mineral-rich nation pull people out of poverty, he said.
Mineral Wealth
The U.S. is paying billions of dollars for Afghan soldiers to fight the Taliban. Three quarters of Afghanistan’s national budget is provided by the U.S. and other international donors. President Ghani wants to tap the country’s mineral wealth — estimated at between $1 trillion to $3 trillion — to wean the country off foreign aid.
Afghanistan has the world’s largest mineral resources of copper, iron, lithium, gold, silver, and rare-earth elements.
“For the first time in 40 years we have really been focusing on developing our natural wealth and creating the financial instruments and connecting to the region,” President Ghani said. “Afghanistan cannot be a burden on the international community and it has to become an asset. That means by 2024, we have to able to pay for our security.”
The Kabul Times

Related posts

Critics views on anti-corruption strategy’s new indexes

Saida Ahmadi

Strengthening security, speeding up development projects’ work

Saida Ahmadi

Ending culture of impunity through fighting corruption

Saida Ahmadi