Media Advisory: NPR News Interviews Afghan President Ashraf Ghani NPR's Mary Louise Kelly spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about the details of the Afghanistan strategy outlined by President Trump in his speech last month.
NPR logo Media Advisory: NPR News Interviews Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Media Advisory: NPR News Interviews Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Blair House in Washington, D.C. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

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Emily Jan/NPR

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Blair House in Washington, D.C.

Emily Jan/NPR

Wednesday September 20th; In an interview airing on Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly spoke with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about the details of the Afghanistan strategy outlined by President Trump in his speech last month. President Ghani described it as a "very well thought-out plan with a four year objective... of really bringing 80 percent of the territory of the country under control." Ghani broke down the strategy into three parts: double the size of Afghan commando forces, improve and increase the Afghan military's air power and re-vamp military leadership as part of broader overhaul of Afghanistan's security forces.

Stations and broadcast times are available at NPR.org/stations.

Excerpts of President Ghani's responses are available below. The full transcript will be made available on Thursday after the interview has aired.

On the role of U.S. troops:
"There is no return to a combat role for US troops. It is advise, assist and train."

On President Trump's strategy in Afghanistan:
"It's a very well thought-out plan with a four year objective which we have worked out..."

On the goals of U.S. strategy:
"The four year plan involves the goal of really bringing 80 percent of the territory of the country under control."

On doubling commando forces:
"It involves doubling our commando force, that's probably the best in the region—not because of inherent strength or martial quality, but because they've trained with the best—and investment that's taken place. This used to be a division, now it's being elevated to a corps command."

On improving air power:
"Second element is air power. We fought under immense constraints, because the United States had very generously purchased helicopters and planes from Russia and after the intervention, their—the Russian intervention in Ukraine—Congress put a sanction. And now, American equipment is being provided in the next four years. Our air force is going to be built to the type of strength that [will] enable the commando forces to operate."

On transforming military leadership:
"We have six ground army corps commands in various parts of Afghanistan. The advisers will be working now at the division level to make sure that the systems processes are there. We ourselves are changing management and leadership. Our Minister of Defense is under forty. A new generation is taking over. I respected generals that did serve are now being honorably retired and the overhaul of the security forces is proceeding very well. It's on course."

Contact:

Ben Fishel, NPR Media Relations
Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org