Afghan forces ready to lead counter-insurgency fight: Feldman
WASHINGTON (Pajwok): Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have proven they are ready to lead the fight against insurgents and prevent the country from becoming a terrorist safe haven again, a top Obama administration official said on Wednesday.
ANSF have proven they are ready to lead the security, Dan Feldman, Special US Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a Washington audience. The Taliban no longer posed a major challenge to Afghanistan, he believed.
Afghanistan is simply not the country it was under the Taliban rule, Feldman said in his remarks at the US Institute of Peace, a top American think-tank. Obama Administration’s point man for Afghanistan and Pakistan for the last one year, Feldman is soon leaving the private sector.
Praising Pakistan for its strong action against the Afghan Taliban and bringing them to the table for peace talks with the government of Afghanistan, Feldman urged Islamabad to take similar strong actions against other terrorist networks like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which he said has the potential to destabilize South Asia.
It is clear that there can be no long term peace and stability in Afghanistan without the support of Pakistan, he said, and praised Islamabad for taking unprecedented steps to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban.
Feldman also welcomed China’s engagement with Pakistan. Emphasizing on inclusive governance, he called for supporting the unity government. This is the legitimate government, Afghan do not deserve that weakens the fabric of the Afghan society, he asserted.
The death of Mullah Omar, he said, brings a new challenge to the peace process, he said, but noted that it offers new opportunities to bring long term peace in the country.
Later participating in a panel discussion, Stephen J. Hadley, the former National Security Advisor, said that the National Unity Government is under pressure and there is some loss of patience. “It is time for it to step up and show some success. They need strategic communication,” he said, adding that the security forces have greater challenge than anticipated.
However, he said there is an opportunity. He praised President Ashraf Ghani for him reaching out to Pakistan and seeking their help in reconciliation process. This, he, noted has yielded desired results, with Pakistan putting pressure on the Taliban to hold talks with the elected Government of Afghanistan.
Hadley said the Taliban feels that time is not on their side. The announcement of death of Mullah Omar, he said, has created confusion among the Taliban. It has also raised questions among the Taliban leaders that the Taliban is just an agent for Pakistan.
Despite a lot of skepticism, this reconciliation effort is worth pursuing. Diplomacy, he said, has been backed up by the security forces from Afghanistan and the United States. “We are at the moment wherein there is actually a possibility of reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan,” he said.
“There is hope out there. There is an opportunity for peace,” Hadley said and warned that if the United States does not support this process, things would become complicated in the region.
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