Army Chief Pledges to Secure Major Cities, Highways

Admitting some shortcomings in protecting remote districts from falling to militants, the Afghan Army Chief Gen. Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, who was newly appointed to his post, pledged that the top priority is to safeguard major cities, border towns and highways.

He said that the closure of border towns, supply routes and attacks on major cities and districts are among the goals of the Taliban, but he assured the people that such attempts will be repelled.

Talking to TOLOnews in an exclusive interview, Gen. Ahmadzai reiterated that efforts will be made to mobilize the Afghan military to retake areas fallen to the Taliban.

“There is no respect for anything … the enemy is trying to conduct a trade war against us, create economic issues. They want to close the border towns through which wheat is imported for the people. They will never succeed. The Afghan people are vigilant and smart and know what this war is about,” Ahmadzai said.

The army chief said that the Taliban wants to first cut supply routes and then launch their offensives on districts and cities.

Meanwhile, an army commander said Pakistani Taliban are fighting the Afghan forces among the Taliban ranks. He said that at least 120 Taliban fighters are killed in attacks against Afghan forces on a daily basis.

“The Taliban cannot resist against us. If they bring 1,000 of them, 1,000 will die, if they come with 2,000, they will die, and if one of them comes, that one will die, but this homeland will always shine, this flag will always fly,” the Maiwand Corps Commander Gen. Sami Sadat said.

“If terrorism is not defeated in Afghanistan, no doubt this war will reach Afghanistan’s neighbors, especially in the north,” Parliament Speaker Mir Rahman Rahmani said.

Gen. Ahmadzai was appointed to the post amid a steady fall of districts to the Taliban. At the same time, President Ghani also appointed Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi as the acting minister of defense.