Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 20th, 2018

President Ghani Meets New US Commander at Presidential Palace

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President Ghani Meets New US Commander at Presidential Palace

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with US General Austin Scott Miller just after he took over the command of US Forces-Afghanistan and of Operation Resolute Support from previous commander, General John” Mick” Nicholson on Sunday at a ceremony in Kabul, quoted from Ghani’s office said in a statement. At the meeting, Ghani “thanked Gen Miller for taking the responsibility and wish him success,” the statement read adding that Ghani and Miller both discussed priorities of the Afghan security and defence forces and also the US strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan. The change of command ceremony was held in Kabul on Sunday and attended by high-ranking officials from the Afghan government, including Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak and National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib. Other VIP guests including the head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto, along with ambassadors and other dignitaries.
During The command change ceremony, Miller said NATO partners and Afghan partners have sacrificed much over the past 17 years – he commended all NATO commanders for the work they have done. Miller said that the world is committed that Afghanistan will never return to being a safe haven for terrorists. “The world recognizes Afghanistan cannot be a safe haven for terrorism. The world recognizes we cannot fail. I know this has been a long fight and it has been generation; for us, for the Afghan people, I understand the reason we are fighting and I know why we are here and I know terrorists seeks safe haven to export more murder, attack the innocent and threaten everybody’s way of life,” said Miller.
According to Miller, there are still groups in Afghanistan who want to export only murder and to inspire attacks to threaten the entire world. He said that the US and the international community will help Afghanistan to maintain pressure on these groups to ensure that they never use Afghanistan as sanctuary for their activities.
“There are groups in Afghanistan who want nothing more than to harm others. These groups thrive in ungoverned spaces, General Nicholson mentioned, the war spilled over to the rest of the world, they raise money, they recruit, they plan, they inspire attacks, we must maintain pressure on them. We must ensure terrorists can never use Afghanistan as a safe haven to threaten the world,” added Miller.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government has praised the achievements of General John” Mick” Nicholson who commanded the Resolute Support Mission for two and a half years in Afghanistan. At beginning of his mission, Gen. Nicholson called the year 2017 the end of Daesh group’s activities in Afghanistan and promised to bring the Taliban group to the negotiation table. However, there is less optimism among the Afghan Political Analysts for his achievements against Daesh and Taliban. Political rivalries have caused more attention to be paid to the North. The enemies are moving forward and becoming stronger in the north, and they are not believed to end the American war,” Abdul Wadod Paiman, representative of Kunduz at the Lower House said.
According to General John ”Mick” Nicholson the  Donald Trump strategy in Afghanistan was successful. During this during strategy, some the groups were unprecedentedly suppressed by dropping thousands of large bombs and, thus they could not maintain their occupied provinces such as Ghazni, the most strategic city of the country. Accordingly, the bed for peace talks is readier than any time before. On the other hand, the united states have put more pressure on Pakistan during his mission and the latest case was the cancellation of 300$ million aid to Pakistan asking to stop supporting Taliban and Haqqani netweork.
It seemed that the air bombardment of terrorist hideouts was the greatest policy of the American four-star general. This was the first time when they used the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), known as ‘the mother of all bombs’, in a military action in the province of Nangarhar, near the border with Pakistan, to destroy tunnels and members of the terrorist Islamic State. Also, For the first time in 2017, nearly four thousand bombs were thrown on terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan under Nicholson’s command which the “Mother of All Bombs” on Daesh safe havens was the biggest one.
The Taliban’s drug factories were also targeted by the bombs; NATO claimed to inflict millions of dollars losses to the group with destroying the factories. “Afghan security forces were highly trained and learned better fighting skills during Nicholson’s mission. We appreciate his consultations and performances for the Afghan government,” Ghafoor Jawid, the spokesman of Defense Ministry asserted. Thus, Afghan air forces owned Black Hawk helicopters during the two years of Nicholson’s mission.
Currently there are 16,000 US troops in Afghanistan supposed for training and education tasks. The troops are also carrying out operations on the ground and are ‘collaborating’ in the confrontation with insurgents and terrorists. However, the combat mission of the United States and its NATO allies in this Central Asian country were formally ended 2014; thereafter Taliban revived and restressed that Afghanistan will not have peace as long as foreign occupation continues and demanded direct negotiations with the United States to end the 17-year war, after NATO’s invasion in October 2001, led by Washington. For many years, The Taliban have been demanding direct talks with the government of Donald Trump, rather than the Ghani executive, whom they regard as a Washington puppet’ according to their own words.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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