Afghanistan’s President Says Trump’s Taliban Strategy Is Working (HBO)

Afghanistan’s president says President Trump’s strategy to win the war against the Taliban is working, but that if U.S. troops were to withdraw the country would become a breeding ground for terrorism.

Speaking exclusively to VICE News, Ashraf Ghani said a 3-day ceasefire with the Taliban in June is proof that Afghanistan is moving towards peace saying, “For the first time the possibility of peace is really at hand”

Despite Ghani’s optimism, there’s little to be hopeful about. This year is on track to be the deadliest for Afghan civilians since fighting began. The government’s grip on power has also rarely been so shaky. Today, the Taliban control or contest more territory than at any point in the conflict. Recently the group won a major victory in their long-simmering war, taking over the city of Ghazni, a strategic provincial capital less than 100 miles from Kabul.

Yet the Afghan leader appeared undeterred, describing the loss of Ghazni as a mere , “intelligence failure.” And he stressed that U.S. support is vital to reaching his ultimate goal of reconciliation. “If Afghanistan collapses, international terrorism is going to have a breeding ground, a launching pad that is going to be unparalleled,” Ghani said.

The Taliban has said it will refuse direct peace talks with Ghani’s government until there is a clear timeline for U.S. forces withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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