Political and military victory is within our side, Ghani tells Trump

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai of Afghanistan addresses the General Assembly’s annual general debate. UN

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai of Afghanistan addresses the General Assembly’s annual general debate. UN

"From now onwards the security agencies will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not our betraying benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians", he said.

Ghani did not elaborate, but his remarks implicitly criticized his predecessor, Hamid Karzai, who had a sometimes rocky relationship with Washington, according to RFE/RL.

President Trump during a meeting with Afghanistan's president on Thursday touted the "great progress" in the conflict there as the US prepares to send more troops.

The US president said America and its allies were working together to crush the terrorists and prevent the re-emergence of safe heavens they use to launch attacks. The current U.S. strategy also does not envisage large troop movements, since its mainly a counter-terrorism mission.

He said the administration's objective is to bring 80 percent of Afghanistan back under the government's control in the next four years.

The Taliban are rapidly making headway in Afghanistan, with nearly half the country under their covert control already. "A new generation is taking over", he told NPR, adding that older generals are being honorably retired. We are leading a lot of wonderful Afghan troops who are fighting very hard.

But "the advisers will be working now at the division level to make sure that the systems processes are there", he said.

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American military commanders have similarly long sought an enduring USA troop presence in Afghanistan that is based on battlefield conditions rather than an arbitrary withdrawal timeline - seeing it as a critical component of any strategy that aims to drive the Taliban to the negotiating table and compel meaningful cooperation from Pakistan. The president made clear he would keep or remove US military forces based on conditions on the ground rather than set a timeline, like his predecessor former President Barack Obama.

Ghani noted that conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timelines like the ones imposed by the previous USA administration, would drive the American military effort in Afghanistan under the Trump presidency, providing the certainty of United States support for Afghanistan that the people of his country had been seeking for "years". Pakistan denies the accusations.

"This will expand exponentially as the Pakistan-China partnership extends beyond energy and transportation to many other sectors", he said.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi meanwhile spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think-tank where he said "nobody wants peace in Afghanistan more than Pakistan". While Pakistan's providing a base to groups like the Haqqani network in Afghanistan or to insurgent groups in Kashmir has led to mayhem in the region, including the deaths of innumerable Indian and American troops, Pakistan's role in nuclear proliferation to North Korea now enables the latter to threaten to rain down destruction on South Korea, Japan and mainland US. And I think we're going to be very successful.

"What Pakistan is not prepared to do is to fight the Afghan war on Pakistan's soil".

He said he believes it will not take another decade to win or settle the war but rather "some limited years".

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