Ground more paved for peace than ever before: Nicholson
Nicholson, who arrived in Kandahar City, the capital of southern Kandahar province, was speaking at a meeting with the governor, security officials and tribal elders.
He was accompanied from Kabul by Acting Afghan Defence Minister Gen. Abdullah Khan and a number of officials.
The NATO commander said the security situation in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, had improved as compared to the past, thanks to efforts by the Afghan security forces and tribal elders.
Gen. Nicholson assured the participants that their assistance and cooperation with the Afghan security forces would continue and in this regard they would use all their energies.
“Our aim in Afghanistan is bringing peace and stability and we are working for that.”
The US general said Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was targeted in a US drone attack because he had been a hurdle to the peace effort.
He said they fully supported President Ashraf Ghani’s view that the ground for peace was more paved in Afghanistan today than ever before.
In his address to the tribal elders, Nicholson said the time had come to stay united and show the insurgents that they could not win the war and the only option with them was peace.
However, he warned those noting taking the path of peace of joint war against them.
The NATO official said Kandahar had a huge importance for them as well and its residents and influential figures should standby their security forces.
Acting Defence Minister Abdullah Khan thanked the people of Kandahar for supporting the security forces in maintaining security.
“We want peace which is our principle, but we are also working to strengthen our security forces,” he said, adding the Afghan Air Force had strengthened compared to the past. He said the AAF for the first time conducted successful operations in central Uruzgan province from Kabul today.
Kandahar Governor Dr. Humayun Azizi also spoke on the occasion and said Afghanistan and the international community had jointly offered sacrifices in the war against terrorism.
He said terrorism as a common enemy posed threat to the entire world and needed joint military and diplomatic campaigns to destroy their known sanctuaries.
The governor described as good the security situation in Kandahar and said there existed some minor issues relating to coordination among security forces, but those issues were being resolved through joint sittings.
He linked the comparatively better security situation in Kandahar to good training of security forces, clear stance on the enemy, the existence of foreign troops and air support when needed.
The governor urged the NATO commander to persuade donor countries to increase their assistance with Kandahar in area of development activities and sought his assistance in building a new prison, saying the current prison, originally built for 700 inmates, was currently housing 2500 prisoners.
A number of tribal elders also spoke and called besides security construction of dams, provision of jobs to people and resumption of development projects as people’s main demands.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.