Ghani meets with northern leaders in Mazar to discuss security situation

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani led a government delegation to Mazar-e-Sharif on Wednesday morning to assess the security situation in the northern provinces.

Ghani’s visit to the capital of Balkh province comes amid escalating violence across the country, particularly in the north.

According to the Presidential Palace, Ghani’s senior security and political affairs adviser Mohammad Mohaqiq and former mujahideen commander Juma Khan Hamdard accompanied the president.

In Mazar, Ghani, Mohaqiq and Hamdard met with political and jihadi leaders, including Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum and Atta Mohammad Noor.

During the meeting, comprehensive discussions were held on the general situation in the northern provinces, and the coordination, equipping and mobilization of civilian uprising forces under the umbrella of the security forces.

A security meeting was also held in Mazar and chaired by Ghani, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

This meeting comes after a week of escalating violence across the north, which has seen the Taliban gain control of a number of provinces.

Reports on Monday night indicated the Taliban had gained control of some parts of Baghlan province.

The governor of Badakhshan, Bashir Samim, also said that the insurgent group intensified attacks on the city of Faizabad on Monday night and that troops were forced to retreat to the Warsaj district of neighboring Takhar province.

According to the governor, troops were ambushed 18 times between Faizabad and Warsaj.

He did not give further details nor did he say whether there had been any casualties.

Samim said however that working in cooperation with Takhar officials, they are planning to retake some areas.