Assadullah Khalid, who took the charge as the acting defense minister following a decree by President Ghani last week, vowed further reforms in the Ministry of Defense and a thorough attention to the Afghan forces, who he described as the owners and decision makers of this country.
Khalid takes the charge amid reports about a sharp increase in government forces casualties on the battlefields. Meanwhile, there are reports about a rise in civilian casualties in Afghan and foreign forces operations in different parts of Afghanistan.
But Khalid said he will want practical work from his stuff members and he will leave the judgment to the people on his activities.
“Required measures will be implemented after a thorough assessment in the ministry,” Khalid said as he labeled this as one of his top priorities.
Another top priority, Khalid said will be to give morale to government forces and address their problems.
He said he is sure that the nation trusts him while assuring that the ministry will serve the soldiers who are on the frontline and that he will not allow bureaucracy in the ministry.
Khalid said the Afghan forces will be on the offensive against militants.
“After this, our slogan will be to kill the enemy and eliminate their strongholds. We must go after the enemies’ strongholds,” Khalid said.
He said that the Army forces will continue to support the peace process.
“I assure government that all the forces will support the peace process and if peace comes to Afghanistan, that will be because of security forces’ pressures,” Khalid said.
He vowed further attention to the families of those soldiers who have been wounded or who have lost their lives on duty.
“When I came to the ministry, I noticed an incident in which wounded soldiers in Andar district were not taken to the center for a week. I assure all soldiers that I will not allow such an accident to happen again. I will not sleep and I will shake up the ministry until our wounded soldiers are transferred,” he added.
Khalid vowed to boost coordination among the Army forces as a main principle in the ministry.
“Coordination is a main principle in the ministry and we will work more on this. I heard that in some areas our forces are busy as private guards. We will change this soon and our commando forces’ focus will be only on operations,” Khalid said.
He said the Afghan forces are the owners of this country as he described the importance of the duty of the Afghan Army who are defending the country on the frontlines of the battle.
“Foreign forces are here for training and supporting Afghan forces, but you (Afghan forces) are the real owners and the decision makers of the country,” he said.
He assured that he will protect the people as he recalled an attack against him when he served as the head of the National Directorate of Security.
“Some people criticize me and say that Khaild could not save himself when he was in the NDS. Let me tell them that I was here to protect them not to protect myself, and I will continue to protect you again,” he concluded.