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

Afghan Prez bullish on economy, says fight against terror in right direction
Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Image Credit: Flickr

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 the 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 uncertainty... The key question is what is the terror threat? The nonstate actors are responsible.

He also said he has no problems dealing with US President Donald Trump. "I'm among the few leaders who have an excellent relationship with him." Asked whether talks with the 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 the 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 of 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 in 2019 in Davos.

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

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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