The Afghan government announced on Monday that President Ashraf Ghani met with a top-level UN Security Council delegation that included US Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Afghan Presidency issued a statement saying Ghani and the UN team met in Kabul on Sunday and discussed Afghanistan's security situation and how to move the country forward. The meeting also addressed countering terrorism as well as new US' strategy and other major issues.
The statement added that Ghani asked the UN delegates to keep pressure on neighboring Pakistan, which Kabul accuses of providing sanctuary for Taliban fighters and members of the militant Haqqani network.
Ghani’s office said the talks also covered Afghanistan’s upcoming parliamentary elections.Security Council members and Afghan officials called for improved cooperation and coordination in the region, underscoring the need for the international community, particularly neighboring countries, to support and cooperate with Afghanistan, especially in countering terrorism.
The 15-member council visited Kabul from January 13-15 as it was the first time council diplomats have traveled to the country since 2010.
Meanwhile, President Ghani who is struggling to restore his political and security power declared that even after three months of the formation of the cabinet of national unity, the government will not be able to meet the needs of its army without the US support.
The President told reporters: "21 international terrorist groups are operating in this country," adding: "dozens of suicide bombers are being sent. There are factories…producing suicide bombers. We are under siege. And conditions of siege require protective responses."
The Afghan president, who is struggling to restore his political and security authority, said: "Yes, we will not be able to keep our army, because we do not have the money," said the president asserting that without the help of the United States, the Afghan army can not continue for 6 months. However, Ghani said at the same time that Afghanistan "does not need other countries."
He reiterated that the fighting will continue as long as it is necessary, perhaps for generations, if necessary.
Since October 2001, according to Pentagon estimates, United States has been fighting in Afghanistan spending $680 billion. In 16 years, 2,035 US soldiers have been killed and more than 20,000 injured.
United States recently announced its intention to send more military advisers to Afghanistan soon, bringing the number of international troops, after the withdrawal of most combat forces by the end of 2014, to 15 thousand soldiers.
Meanwhile, Afghan authorities said that a new round of non-official talks began in Istanbul between representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban.
Shah Hussain Murtazawi, a spokesman for Afghan President said presidential advisers Homayoun Jarir and Abass Basir held the talks as a non-official delegation.
“Individuals talking to a number of Taliban members in Turkey do not represent the Afghan government,” he added.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied Taliban representatives were involved in any peace talks.
“Reports about delegation participating at talks in Turkey are baseless,” Mujahid said in a statement, adding: “We have neither sent any delegation nor can any participant represent.”
Afghan journalist Nathar Mohammed Muatamen stated that Taliban’s delegation participating in Turkey talks, does not represent the Taliban led by Sheikh Mullah Hebaullah Akhund, successor of founder Mullah Omar, but the second part in Taliban formed by Afghan and regional intelligence to create a rift in the ranks of the Taliban, and weaken their combat capabilities in the field.
Muatamen added that these talks will end like other dialogue sessions that occurred in many capitals around the world without any result.
In Kabul, official authorities announced that the national security services arrested an unnamed senior official in Herat province, near Iranian border, accusing him of espionage for Iran.
Authorities stated that the official held several positions in the local government in governorates, including the state of Herat and Faryab.
A government source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the detainee was transferred to Kabul for further investigating his charge.
The presidential statement stated that President Ghani demanded the Security Council put more pressure on Pakistan, which Kabul accuses of supporting Taliban and other militant groups that carry out attacks against his country.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said that the stationing of authorities in Kabul and failure to divide them fairly, created problems and political conflicts. Security measures had been tightened in the capital, and all roads closed in what is referred to as “Green Zone” which includes the presidential palace, US embassy, other government organizations, and foreign embassies.
The meeting came at a time governor of northern Balkh province, Atta Mohamed Nur refused to leave office.
The spokesman Mortazavi said that the issue of Balkh's governor was not discussed during the meeting with UN Security Council delegation and other officials.