Before meeting with Angela Merkel in Berlin, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani talked to DW about corruption, security threats and human rights violations in his country.
Ghani described 2015 as "one of the most difficult years, if not the most difficult year of the last 15 years."
When asked if things could get worse, the president replied that "it depends on how much regional cooperation we can ensure. And on how much international mediation and pressure can be exerted to create rules of the game between states."
Ghani rejected foreign intervention concerning negotiations with the Taliban: "It's not for you. It's up to us to determine."
The president admitted that in the first half of 2015, local police had committed crimes against civilians, but that his government was "taking systematic measures" to try and solve the issue. Contradicting recent UN reports, he denied the existence of militias in Afghanistan.
When asked about appeals he has been making for Afghans to stay in their country despite the struggling economy and security threats, President Ghani said: "Do you guarantee security in Paris? Our case is one of national security." Referring to the privileged families of Afghan leaders who live abroad, Ghani said: "The careers are back in Afghanistan. (…) We have to create the conditions."
When host Tim Sebastian showed Ghani a photo of the court-sanctioned lashing of an Afghan women who was accused of sex outside marriage, the president said:"It is horrifying. This is part of our shame." Only seconds before he had called women's rights "a priority commitment. As long as I am president, the rights of women will be protected."
Ghani repeatedly confirmed that his government was in the process of solving problems they had "inherited" from prior administrations: "We have had a difficult legacy for forty years, and cleaning up is not going to be a one day's job. But we are engaged in a systematic effort" (to introduce reforms).
The president said he was hopeful the Afghan people would succeed in dealing with the numerous issues: "We are a free society, we engage in debate, and that is our characteristic." Ghani said "our job is to heal and to move forward. Not to perpetuate, not to get poked down."
The full interview with Tim Sebastian will air on DW's "Conflict Zone" on Thursday, December 3, at 17.30 UTC.