Afghanistan faces a difficult spring in terms of security as the so-called “fighting season” with the Taliban begins, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said earlier today, adding that Pakistan was “pushing a major series of global terrorist networks onto” war ravaged country.
“The winter has been extraordinarily difficult. And barring major breakthroughs in the region, spring will be difficult,” he told a press briefing at the presidential palace, several hours before leaving on a four-day official visit to the United States.
Ghani, who came to power in September, said he had not asked for any specific aid from the United States nor any changes to planned troop withdrawals.
“What I’ll be explaining to the Congress of the United States is what we’re doing. What we’re underlining is both the nature of the threat and what we’re doing with the existing resources and capabilities,” he said.
Ghani will be travelling to the US along with Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah Abdullah. They are due to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on March 24.
“A partnership is about appreciation of conditions…. You cannot just simply request assistance,” the president added.
The United States was due to reduce its 10,000 troops to 5,500 by December, but that number is expected to be reassessed.
According to Ghani, Pakistan’s military operations in Waziristan and Khyber “are pushing a major series of global terrorist networks onto us”.
But he stressed he considers neighbouring Pakistan a key partner in the peace process, saying success depends on “an enduring peace” with Islamabad.