The increasingly questioned president of Afghanistan only has his circle of advisers | If the departure of US troops is confirmed, their only option is to escape
The president of Afghanistan is increasingly alone in his palace. The big question that circulates through the corridors of this armored compound in the heart of Kabul and through the offices of embassies and international organizations present in the Afghan capital is: how long will it last after the departure of the United States troops? Ashraf Ghani (Logar, 1949)
He has a plan, but no one has listened to his words for a long time. Joe Biden received him at the White House, a farewell meeting as the United States is in a hurry to close a two-decade war in which it has suffered 2,400 casualties.
Biden is no longer interested in Ghani’s plan, which involves linking the US withdrawal to the entry into force of a ceasefire, the formation of what he has dubbed
“A transitory peace government” and the subsequent holding of elections. Washington has no more time and this financial expert trained in the United States and with American nationality, which he had to resign to be president, is left alone with the Taliban.
Former Hamid Karzai’s economy minister during the first years of his term, Ghani was working at the World Bank (WB) in Washington when the 9/11 attacks occurred. That attack and George Bush’s subsequent decision to invade his native Afghanistan led him to change the
Berkeley and Columbia classrooms, where he was trained, and the offices of the World Bank and the United Nations, where he worked, for the Afghan front.
in the shadow of Karzai at the beginning of the Afghan democratic experiment Implanted by the international community at the hands of the military invasion, Ashraf Ghani began to carve out his own political career and in 2009 he ran for the first time in presidential elections. As well known in Western diplomatic circles as unknown to Afghan voters, he was the fourth most voted candidate and Karzai repeated his term.
Five years later, the Constitution did not allow a third reelection of Karzai and it was the moment in which Ghani prevailed in the polls. His central campaign message was:
“Fight corruption”. His arrival was a hope for change, improvement and openness, and even his wife, Rula, a Lebanese American, presented herself as a first lady who could be a new image to the world of Afghan women.
Ashraf Ghani repeated his triumph in the 2020 elections. Their two victories have one thing in common: the shadow of fraud. This has caused, among other things, that in the last ten years there has been a
a kind of bicephaly in the Afghan leadership between Ghani and who has been his great rival at the polls, Abdullah Abdullah, who has always been reluctant to acknowledge the results. The Tajik leader even held an investiture ceremony after the last elections, although he finally reached a power-sharing agreement and silenced his demands in exchange for being appointed leader of the peace process and having the right to elect half of the members of the government.
When he came to power, Ghani was one of the most popular faces among Afghans urbanites, who saw him as a solution to the country’s economic and corruption problems because of his work thanks to his excellent resume and his experience in the United States. But
the years have passed and their anti-corruption measures have not managed to redirect the situation. Although he is usually cold and distant with the media, in an interview with the BBC chain he was honest as he had never done before and confessed that “being president of Afghanistan is the worst job in the world.”
On the military front
His two terms are marked by the US withdrawal and the imposition by Washington of a peace process in which he has never believed. Since he entered the presidential palace, a countdown has been underway that started with Barack Obama and must end on 9/11. This exit, together with the great Taliban offensive throughout the country, has led the former warlords to mobilize their followers due to the lack of confidence in the Army.
mujahideen who fought the USSR, destroyed the country in the civil war, were recruited by the United States to drive out the Taliban and who since then have been more linked to business than to war, nor do they trust a Ghani who has been left alone. Some experts warn of the risk of a new fratricidal conflict.
A new Najubulá
“The current moment is reminiscent of what happened to President Mohamed Najibulá, who had to flee when the Soviets left. Ghani
has lost his inner support, you only have your closest circle of advisers left, nothing more. If the American departure is confirmed, your only option is to escape. He is becoming more and more nervous ”, comments from Kabul analyst Abdul Noorzad, who warns of the strong sectarianization of the militias that are beginning to operate throughout the country to stop the Taliban advance. These words coincide with the opinion of Rahmatullah Nabil, former head of the Afghan intelligence services, who told The New York Times that
the president “is in dire straits.”
The parallel with Najibulá has spread through social networks. In them the Afghans spread photos of Ghani, in his student years, with the former communist president. Both leaders are part of the Ahmadzai tribe and share in having come to power under the protection of the invading force. Najibulá ended his days at the UN headquarters in Kabul, where he spent four years locked up until the Taliban took the city and executed him. It was the year 1996 …
25 years later the Taliban are once again at the gates of the capital and Ghani barricades himself in the palace.