Afghan president defiant in face of attacks
KONFRONTASI-Defying frequent attacks by armed groups across his country, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has given a speech following a wave of recent Taliban activity, pledging that Afghanistan "will never surrender".
In a televised speech on Sunday, Ghani called on all religious, political and social leaders to condemn the violence. At one point, he even shouted: "Enough!"
Ghani's words come just two weeks before the withdrawal from Afghanistan of most international combat troops, 13 years after the US-led invasion following the September 11 attacks.
Ghani has made few public remarks about the violence that has intensified since he took office in September, though regularly visits victims of attacks in the hospital and at their homes.
In his speech on Sunday, Ghani offered no specifics about his plans to combat the upsurge of violence.
His administration has embarked on a top-to-bottom review of the country's military and security strategy, promising to remove provincial governors and other security officials.
In the lead-up to the withdrawal of most foreign troops, Taliban fighters have launched a series of bloody attacks across the country, including those targeting foreigners in the capital, Kabul.
On Saturday alone, at least 19 people were killed, including 12 clearing landmines in the country's south.
A suicide attack on Saturday evening in Kabul killed seven government troops, and injured 18 others, including civilians.
A senior court official was also shot on the same day.
Afghanistan's Green Village in eastern Kabul has also come under regular attacks in recent months.
The heavily fortified Green Village houses foreigners working for international service companies.[mr/aljazeera]