Ghani's Speech Draws Mixed Reaction

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In a historic speech to a joint session of the Afghan parliament on Monday, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani outlined his vision for the future of the nation’s security and said dividing the terrorists into good and bad ones could have negative repercussions.

He said that groups that plan attacks on civilian targets and shed the blood of Afghan people are terrorists.

Ghani’s remarks on the Taliban have however elicited mixed reaction, especially regarding his statement that a number of Taliban factions, not all, along with Daesh, Haqqani network and al-Qaeda are involved in killing the people.

Ghani warned the terrorist networks of Haqqani, al-Qaeda and certain Taliban factions of a damaging response to their war stance, and said the Afghan security forces will do everything in their power to eliminate terrorists in the country.

While the Afghan leader called for unity among the political elite and the people in general, key government officials including his CEO Abdullah Abdullah and other influential politicians did not attend Monday’s parliamentary session – despite being invited.

In his remarks, Ghani addressed the calls to clarify the terms friends and enemies, and said that those who have a political ideal and believe in the interests of the nation are friends, but those that reject these ideals are enemies.

“All those Afghan citizens including supporters of the system, neutral segments of the society, political opposition forces who have an idea and a certain political stance, obey the national interests and protect them according to their capabilities are our friends,” Ghani said.

“The enemies of Afghanistan are those who work for foreigners including Daesh, al-Qaeda, the human killers of Haqqani network and some Afghan Taliban who take pleasure in killing their countrymen and continuing the war and terrorism. There is no place for conducting talks with groups like these,” Ghani added.

Meanwhile, lawmakers have given mixed signals over Ghani’s remarks on the Taliban – especially after he said that some of the Taliban factions are taking pleasure in killing Afghan civilians.

“The government’s observation does not have [meaning] for the people and government of Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan want a firm and resolute stance to be taken by the government while explaining the enemy, the government should not divide the enemy into two categories,” MP Farhad Majidi said.

While the Afghan security forces continue their military campaigns against insurgent groups on multiple fronts, Ghani has called for the repression of these militant groups.

“Our security forces are determined to defend the nation and the country. They are backed by the religious scholars. They (ANSF) have outlined inclusive programs to repress Haqqani network and their associates such as Daesh, al-Qaeda and send the rebels to hell,” Ghani added.

In addition, Ghani called for the mobilization of people against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

“The Haqqani network and some parts of the Taliban group are the vanguard of other countries and have aligned [themselves] with international terrorists, regional terrorists and drug mafia. They have planned to send our people to a bygone era of history. Therefore we need to stand together with each other and combat them collectively,” Ghani stated.

But critics and analysts have reiterated calls to Ghani to deliver on across-the-board promises.

“Taliban will respond, the president needs to practice what he has uttered ,” a member of parliament’s internal security commission Iqbal Safai said.

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