In exclusive interview, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani insists Trump's Taliban strategy is working

Afghanistan’s president says that if U.S. troops were to withdraw, the country would become a breeding ground for terrorism.
September 13, 2018, 3:21pm

AFGHANISTAN — Afghanistan’s president says President Donald Trump’s strategy to win the war against the Taliban is working.

“For the first time, the possibility of peace is really at hand,” President Ashraf Ghani told VICE News.

But Afghanistan’s security situation offers little to be hopeful about. This year is on track to be the deadliest for Afghan civilians since fighting began. And the government’s grip on power has been challenged recently in more ways than one. Today, the Taliban control or contest more territory than at any point in the conflict. And not long ago, the group won a major victory in their long-simmering war, taking over the city of Ghazni, a strategic provincial capital less than 100 miles from Kabul.

Further complicating the matter, the Taliban has said it will not entertain direct peace talks with the government until there is a clear timeline for U.S. forces' withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Despite these mounting challenges — and 17 years of failed U.S. military policy — Ghani insists there’s reason to believe this time will be different. He pointed to a three-day ceasefire with the Taliban in June as proof that Afghanistan is moving toward 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.”