As most of the northern provinces are witnessing heavy clashes between government forces and the Taliban, President Ghani said during a visit to Balkh province that "the Taliban’s backbone will be broken" and all areas captured by the group will be retaken soon.
President Ghani visited Balkh province on Tuesday to review the northern provinces' security situation and said that the security situation across the country will improve significantly in the next three months.
President Ghani's trip to Balkh comes as heavy clashes are underway between government forces and Taliban in most of the northern provinces, including Balkh.
During the trip President Ghani met with a number of civil society activists, women's rights activists, and journalists, and stressed the need for national cohesion and unity in the country.
“The Afghan government's plan to stabilize the whole situation is still in effect. The president had a meeting with the youth, women, Ulema, and teachers moments ago, and the details we have about it--about economic and security issues--will be shared soon,” said Fazel Mahmoud Fazli, head of the Administrative Office of the President.
In the last month the capitals of 9 districts of Balkh province fell to the Taliban and the Taliban got closer to the gates of Mazar-e-Sharif, the center of Balkh.
Following the escalation of Taliban attacks in Balkh, residents of the province took up arms to support the defense and security forces in fighting against the Taliban militants.
Mohammad Farhad Azimi, the governor of Balkh, said: “A delegation from the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Interior, the National Directorate of Security and also from the Security Council accompany him on this trip.”
He added: “They will discuss and exchange views on a better security plan for the protection of Hairatan Crossing and other lost districts as well.”
With the president's visit to Balkh, the city of Mazar-e-Sharif became semi-closed, and the roads leading to Balkh province were blocked. Residents of Mazar-e-Sharif criticized the road closures, saying they had faced many problems.
Abdul Qayyum, a resident of Mazar-e-Sharif, said: “They are welcome but roads in Mazar-e-Sharif city and in the rest of the province are closed to traffic and people. Instead of giving us bread and water, they took it from us.”
Khairullah, one of the drivers in Mazar-e-Sharif, said that if he met the president he would say to him: “You are the president, will you find a piece of bread for us or you would take the bread from us, the bread that costs us the callouses on our hands?"
President Ghani assured the people of Afghanistan that the security situation in the country will improve within the next three months.