Preparing to travel to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, President Ghani talks to reporters. He portrays a perilous security situation as spring "fighting season" approaches. Among key points he makes:
- Pakistan's military operations in the border regions are pushing militants into Afghanistan. Nevertheless he sees Pakistan as a "key partner" in the peace process.
- Afghanistan is in talks with neighboring states to lay the groundwork for peace talks with the Taliban. However, the government has yet to have face-to-face meetings with Taliban representatives.
- He expects the fiscal situation of the Afghan government to be a key issue in his U.S. visit.
- He seems to find Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, which they don't like) to be rather scary.
Hundreds gather for the funeral of Farkhunda, a woman who was beaten to death by a mob in Kabul after accusations that she had desecrated a Koran. She is said to have been mentally ill. Although president Ghani and most other leaders have condemned the mob violence, some religious leaders have said it was justified. (For what it's worth, investigators have also said that the accusation that she desecrated a Koran is false. Not that it matters. Her brother also denies that she was mentally ill.-- C)