In an interview to Indian TV Station SNI, the former Afghan ambassador to Washington and National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani spoke on his visit to India to strengthen the bilateral cooperation and ensured that ‘The drawdown will not have a significant impact’ on Afghanistan’s situation. He also addressed on the peace process and the presidential elections.
“My visit was to reinforce what was already in place,” said NSA Mohib on his visit to India which took place on January 4, “We talked about what is happening in the region right now, about the progress Afghanistan’s democratic process is making-the contribution to that progress as well as the peace efforts that are underway in Afghanistan.”
He also emphasized: “It was a wholesome discussion of our partnership as a whole. But, it was also to renew our commitment to each other and to regional security as well.”
On the procurement of 4 Mi-25 Attack Helicopters from India Mr. Mohib said: “We will receive the first of those two in March hopefully. It’s just a process that’s taking time. The other two should come in June or July. It’s just a matter of preparation. They will arrive soon.”
In response to concerns over possible US drawdown, NSA Hamdullah Mohib ensured the preparations of Afghan security forces to offset. “The drawdown will not have a significant impact. We have been preparing and have been leading actually the security efforts since 2014 when 100,000 NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan. We’re continuing to build on the capacity and capability of our own security forces and we are proud of the achievements that they have had over the last four years.” He noted.
“We’re prepared for whatever is to come and I have full confidence in their capacity. We have also recently had a change in the leadership to fix the gap that may have existed.” Mohib assured.
NSA Mohib emphasized on the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace talks and the steps that the Afghan government have taken to bring the Taliban to negotiating table. “If the Taliban are Afghans and would like to play a role in Afghanistan, I would once again use this opportunity to call on them to have talks with Afghans. There will be no peace without Afghans-intra-Afghan dialogue,” said Mr. Mohib,” The Government has on multiple occasions, offered ceasefire and opportunities for direct and unconditional talks. Of course, peace will have to be conditional the local people will have to agree to it. But, the fact that we’re ready to sit without any preconditions with them is a big step. It was not something that was available in the past and as time passes, this opportunity may not always exist.”
With regards to participation of Afghan government in upcoming Jeddah talks Dr. Mohib commented: “If they are not willing to participate or talk directly with the Afghan Government then it’s not useful for us to go all the way and not be present in the talks.”
He reacted to the rumors about the interim government and clarified that there has been no discussion on the part of anybody on some sort of an interim Government. “Afghanistan has a constitutional process, a democracy. We are committed to what we have in our hands.” He added, “There will be presidential elections in July and once again everybody is preparing for that election.”
On the postponement of the presidential election he remarked: “There has been a slight delay. But it is because of the process. The Independent Election Commission needs some more time to hold credible, fair elections. The people deserve credible elections.”
“We are really looking forward to this next Presidential election. It will be an opportunity for the Afghans to renew their commitment to democracy.” He added.