National Security Advisor to President Ghani at USIP: Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan

National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani, Haneef Atmar, speaks about achievements and challenges to security in Afghanistan and the path to peace at the United States Institute of Peace

March 22, 2018

Earlier today, National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani Haneef Atmar engaged in a discussion at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) about the successes and challenges to security in Afghanistan and peace talks with the Taliban. 

President of USIP, Nancy Lindborg welcomed 100 guests, providing insight on “USIP’s deep involvement in Afghanistan since 2002.” She said, “Afghanistan remains one of the most critical foreign policy priorities for the United States.” On the heels of the Kabul Peace Conference where the Afghan government made an offer to the Taliban to find a political solution to the conflict, NSA Atmar provided unparalleled insight into this issue and others regarding security and peace in the country. 

Before sitting down with Stephen J. Hadley, Chair on USIP Board of Directors and National Security Advisor to former President George W. Bush, NSA Atmar provided an update on the security situation in Afghanistan.

On success in the security sector, he said, “One of the most significant achievements, aside from no longer being a safe haven for terrorists, is the creation of the Afghan National Security Forces…Afghanistan has begun to stand on its own two feet in regards to defense forces.” He emphasized that “the way forward on the peace strategy consists of strengthening ANDSF…without them, peace and reconciliation will not work.” 

NSA Atmar also focused on a peace process with the Taliban. He specified two mutually supporting policies as peace and reconciliation, which “aims to separate the Afghan Taliban from the foreign fighters,” and counter-terrorism. NSA Atmar explained, “if we succeed, this will be the most effective regional and global counter-terrorism strategy…aiming to increase the number of reconcilables among the Taliban.” 

On regional collaboration and U.S. President Trump administration’s South Asia strategy, NSA Atmar specified that “the role of Pakistan is central to the peace process and counter-terrorism.” He continued, “We are engaging with them on different levels to offer concrete measures on what they can do together with the Afghan government to support the peace process.” 

Click here to watch the conversation.