Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has blamed the country’s deteriorating security on the United States deciding “abruptly” to withdraw its troops.
Presenting his security plan before Parliament on Monday, Ghani said the situation in the war-torn nation will be “under control within six months”, adding that the US has pledged its full support.
“The reason for our current situation is that the decision was taken abruptly,” he told Parliament, adding he had warned Washington the withdrawal would have “consequences”.
The president added that “protection of the people” is a duty he will maintin.
After his address, both houses of parliament released a joint statement, expressing their full support for Ghani’s security plan.
In their statement, the legislators declared their “firm” support to human and women’s rights and freedom of speech and said they stand with the Afghan National Army, “who sacrifice their lives for the nation”.
‘His time is over, God willing’
In response, the Taliban group released a statement to the media, calling Ghani’s statements “nonsense” and saying “his time is over”.
“He was trying to control his own bad [mental] state and mistakes,” said the statement.
“The nation has decided to prosecute the national traitors and bring them to justice. Declarations of war, making accusations and providing false information cannot prolong Ghani’s life,” it said.
“His time is over, God willing.”
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For months, the Taliban’s rapid territorial gains during the final stages of the US military withdrawal have largely been in sparsely populated rural areas.
But in recent weeks, it has brought increasing pressure on provincial capitals and seized key border crossings.
The capture of any major urban centre would take their current offensive to another level and fuel concerns that the army is incapable of resisting the Taliban’s advances.
The government has repeatedly dismissed the group’s steady gains over the summer as lacking strategic value but has largely failed to reverse their momentum on the battlefield.
The Taliban has seized Afghan cities in the past but has managed to retain them only briefly.
Ali M Latifi contributed to this report from Kabul, Afghanistan