Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said that a political agreement was the only solution for the Afghan crisis and the only way to end the bloodshed in the country.
"The only solution for the Taliban is a political agreement, a political agreement supported by the people. Because without a national consensus and people's support, peace does not break out," Ghani told a meeting of Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) held in Kabul.
The JCMB is a decision-making body established by the Afghan government and international community that provides a platform for strategic coordination, joint policy formulation and problem-solving in Afghanistan.
Ghani's remarks came as security situation in the country deteriorated as Taliban militants continued heavy fighting against government forces and gained ground since the drawdown of U.S. troops which was started on May 1.
The withdrawal is expected to be completed by the end of August.
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"The departure of the international forces gives us the opportunity to frame and implement our sovereignty strategies in the manner suited to our unique conditions and history as well as the benefits of regional connectivity and global cooperation," Ghani said.
Ghani also said that the Afghan government has cut the national budget by 5.2 percent to eliminate waste, prioritize the use of condition-based assistance, ensure delivery of essential services and free resources for the Afghan national defense and security forces.
Deborah Lyons, special UN envoy and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), told the same meeting that donors were seeking promise from the Afghan government "that it recognizes the nature of the crisis and that it has a strategic outlook that addresses the current, worrying circumstances."
"For now, I am not talking primarily about the recent Taliban advances. They are cause for concern, as we all know, and which I will address later. For now, however, I am talking about the one number that concerns us the most. That number is 18 million. Eighteen million Afghans today are facing dire humanitarian needs," she said.
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"Our humanitarian partners are here, and they are here to deliver. But three critical things are needed for this life-saving work: One, an immediate and lasting end to the violence is necessary, and humanitarian access must be unimpeded so that all areas of the country, all Afghans in need, can be reached," she noted.