Kabul: Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday blamed the country's deteriorating security on the US deciding "abruptly" to withdraw its troops.
"The reason for our current situation is that the decision was taken abruptly," he told the Afghan Parliament, adding he had warned Washington that the withdrawal would have "consequences," reported Tolo News.
President Ghani said in a special session of the National Assembly that Afghanistan was facing a test of survival and the country must be mobilized to pass this test successfully. Ghani also announced the beginning of a six-month security plan to improve the security situation in the country.
He announced that the period of military presence in Afghanistan is over and it is now the responsibility of the Afghans to determine their future.
President Ghani in his speech said the present time offered an opportunity to build peace and harmony in the country and it is now the time for unity and solidarity.
Addressing members of both houses of parliament, Ghani said the country was facing an "unprecedented onslaught" from the Taliban who had links with thousands across the country and there is need to mobilize Afghan forces to defend the regime.
Addressing the Taliban, President Ghani said: "Enmity with Afghans is serious" and they "will not surrender to any group".
"The Taliban have intensified their oppression and violence," added Ghani.
"The real conversation is that in the last three months we have faced an unexpected situation ... We are facing an onslaught of internal and external propaganda," said Ghani.
Ghani's remarks came as the country's security forces struggle to keep the Taliban at bay.
In southern Afghanistan, fighting continued in Lashkar Gah overnight on Sunday as Afghan forces beat back a fresh assault from the Taliban.
Meanwhile, a US airstrike targeted a Taliban stronghold in Lashkargah city on Monday morning, killing seven members of the group, the Defense Ministry said.
The Afghan government forces have killed 38 members of the Taliban when they attempted to storm a prison in the southwestern city of Lashkargah in Helmand province, the Afghan defense ministry said today.
Many parts of the city have fallen to the Taliban in recent weeks, TOLO News reported.
Afghanistan has witnessed a spike in violence as the Taliban stepped up its offensive in the country.
Referring to the Taliban's offensive, President Ghani asked if the Afghan people would allow the Akura Khattak school, a religious seminary located in Akura Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan to decide their future.
According to the President, the Taliban not only have become more oppressive, but they have also strengthened their ties with terrorist groups and sought to seize ports in collusion with smuggling groups.
The Taliban have previously denied any links to foreign terrorist groups, reported Tolo News.
The President stressed that the current problem began when pressure from outside the republic and democracy began and intensified efforts to legitimize a terrorist group.
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