Saturday, February 22, 2020

Afghan President bullish on economy, says fight against terror in right direction

By PTI Updated: Jan 22, 2020 11:20 pm

Davos, Jan. 22 (PTI): Sounding bullish on economic growth prospects of his war-hit country, Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday the fight against terror is going on in the right direction and it’s time to develop the country’s “richness”.

“It’s been five years and despite all the gloom and doom predictions that we will collapse, we are still there. We have taken over areas after areas from Taliban. Security is a problem but the direction we are going in is the right direction,” Ghani said at the WEF 2020 here.

On US troops, the president said the key issue is the bilateral understanding between Afghanistan and the US and the numbers can change.

Asked whether he expects full withdrawal of US troops, he said, “Of course…. there is an uncertainty… The key question is what is the terror threat? The non state actors are responsible.

He also said he has no problems dealing with US President Donald Trump. “I’m among the few leaders who has an excellent relationship with him.”

Asked whether talks with Taliban is an option, Ghani said negotiation is a means and what matters the most is that Afghan people desire the end of violence.

“Afghan society has seen so much violence for such a long time. Taliban’s power is negative that is derived from violence. We need to engage,” he said.

“In last five years we have shown that abandonment is not in our vocabulary. We have shown resilience.

“Now we need to develop the richness of our country. A key is our human capital with significant women participation and we also have immense potential in renewable energy. We need to accept that 40 years of violence has taken its toll. We need to move beyond this now. There is an agricultural revolution underway.”

He said Asia is emerging as a concept and Afghanistan is the key connection for all of Asia.

“We need to think regionally and we need to think globally,” he said.

He rejected the perception about a growing relationship with Russia. “That’s a misperception. They have not made any investment, though we wish they had.”

Ghani has been President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 2014, following a career in politics and international development.

He had also taken part in a special session at the WEF annual meeting 2019 in Davos.

Afghanistan’s GDP growth has remained at 2.7 per cent for the last few years, but is expected to break above the 3 per cent mark in 2020, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

By PTI Updated: Jan 22, 2020 11:20:02 pm