The Americans made the decision out of principle to buy Russian equipment for us because our pilots and mechanics were trained on Russian aircraft. But, then, as a result of the Ukraine crisis, the US Congress imposed sanctions on Russia and the equipment could no longer be delivered to us. I am proud of our security and defense forces.
When I first raised the issue of the so-called Islamic State at the Munich Security Conference in February, speaking about its economy, its flexibility and pathology, people thought I was trying to scare them. But now we have experienced just that. If al-Qaida was version 2.0 of terror, then the Islamic State is version 5.0.
We [Afghanistan] are constantly dealing with situations in which we must ensure that provinces or major cities do not fall into enemy hands. People need to understand that we don't have an air force and the forces that we do have used to get air support from NATO, which is no longer available. Our pilots have done wonders, but they are stretched thin. We are dealing with resources that have been spread thin.
We are organized by territories, whereas terrorists are organized into networks. States are very slow and terrorists are extremely fast. Intelligence sharing needs to expand beyond the regional and become global and not country-focused. We need to acquire speed and agility.
Ninety percent of our police are fighting terrorists, so we don't have enough oriented towards their key duty, which is enforcement of the law. But these are precisely the inheritance that we want to overcome. Particularly the mark for success for us would be that a woman can not only walk in the streets of every major city, but can go from one province to another without any hindrance.
As the leader of a country, you are not free to enjoy the luxury of such feelings. The Afghan people want peace, which requires persistence. We are determined to defend our country, and the whole region and the entire world understands the justice of our cause and the principled way in which we have engaged in it.
We [Afghanistan government] were in the process of cleaning up the government when these attacks happened in the north - not only in Kunduz, but also in other provinces. Our special forces are limited - we cannot be everywhere at the same time and we had to defend every district regardless of how insignificant it might be, because of the very social and political makeup of this country.
Peace is our goal, but peace from strength, an enduring peace that will bring regional cooperation, what we have emphasized and agreed is that we are strategic partners. We are bound by common interests and will act together to ensure both the safety of United States and the safety of Afghanistan. That is the important consideration. Numbers are a means; they are not an end in themselves.
None these organizations [terrorists] could continue operating without the narcotics networks, human-trafficking and oil smuggling. Addressing it requires a truly creative global response similar to that used to stand up against Germany's aggression in World War II.
We have sacrificed and we have endured extreme hardship, but we have maintained the key goal - we have denied the enemy its main objective of creating two political geographies in this country through the all-out war which has been unleashed against us. If we had a first-rate air force, the nature of the conflict would be completely different.
What is common among all of these groups [Taliban, Islamic State etc.] is the intent to destroy. The majority of terrorists who come to Afghanistan are from China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or North Africa. They were expelled from their countries and pushed to ours - this is their battlefield - and all of them, be it the Taliban or others, are interlinked with the criminal economy.