Afghan President Ashraf Ghani slipped out of his country Sunday in the identical means he had led it in recent times — a lonely and remoted determine.
Ghani quietly left the sprawling presidential palace with a small coterie of confidants — and didn’t even inform different political leaders who had been negotiating a peaceable transition of energy with the Taliban that he was heading for the exit.
Abdullah Abdullah, his long-time rival who had twice buried his animosity to accomplice with Ghani in authorities, stated that “God will hold him accountable” for abandoning the capital.
Ghani’s vacation spot was not instantly recognized. In a social media put up from an unknown location, he wrote that he left to save lots of lives. “If I had stayed, countless of my countrymen would be martyred and Kabul would face destruction and turn into ruins that could result to a human catastrophe for its six million residents” Ghani wrote.
Abdullah, in addition to former President Hamid Karzai, who had crushed a path to Ghani’s door on quite a few events to plead with him to place compromise above retaining energy, had been blindsided by the hasty departure. They stated that they had nonetheless been hoping to barter a peaceable transition with the Taliban, stated Saad Mohseni, the proprietor of Afghanistan’s in style TOLO TV.
“He left them in them lurch,” he stated. Earlier Sunday, Karzai had posted a message to the nation on his Facebook web page, surrounded by his three daughters, to reassure Kabul residents that the management had a plan and was negotiating with the Taliban.
Just hours later, he found the presidential palace had been deserted.
“Ghani’s inability to unite the country and his proclivity to surround himself with his cadre of Western-educated intellectuals brought Afghanistan to this point,” stated Bill Roggio, senior fellow on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a U.S.-based analysis institute. “As Afghanistan collapsed, he refused to deal with the problems and further isolated himself from the power brokers he needed to deal with the problem, and the Afghan people as well.”
Ghani’s fashion of rule was typically characterised as cantankerous and conceited, not often heeding the recommendation of his authorities and infrequently publicly berating those that challenged him.
He was accused by ethnic minorities of championing the ethnic Pashtuns, like himself, seeing himself as a counter to the Taliban, who’re largely from the identical ethnic group. He alienated different ethnic minorities and the hole between Afghanistan’s ethnic teams grew ever wider.
As he campaigned for the presidency in 2014, Ghani was taking an anger administration course. It appeared to have faltered as a number of tribal elders in conferences with the president have spoken of his verbal lashings.
Ghani’s critics say his heavy-handed management fashion is in charge, to a point, for the fast disintegration of the Afghan military and an anti-Taliban alliance of warlords who fled or surrendered to the insurgents somewhat than combat for a broadly unpopular president.
“His downfall was his insistence on centralizing power at all costs and a stubborn refusal to bring more people under his tent,” stated Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program on the U.S.-based Wilson Center. “Later on, his inability to develop a clear strategy to address the Taliban insurgency and perceptions that he was obstructing the peace process hurt him as well.”
Ghani, 72, spent most of his profession abroad as a scholar and tutorial earlier than returning to Afghanistan in 2002.
He arrived with a robust set of financial credentials. He was engaging to the West along with his World Bank background and was seen as a attainable resolution to Afghanistan’s crumbling and corrupt economic system. He was finance minister for 2 years till 2004. He survived most cancers.
In 2014 he fought his first presidential race. It was criticized as deeply flawed and allegations of widespread fraud threatened to destabilize the nonetheless fragile nation. Both Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah claimed victory. In the top, the United States brokered a compromise and divided energy between the 2 males and even created a brand new place of chief government.
The subsequent election in 2019 fared the identical. Again, accusations swirled of deep corruption and each Ghani and Abdullah declared themselves president. They ultimately ended months of bickering and Abdullah turned head of the National Reconciliation Council that was to deliver Afghanistan’s warlords and political leaders collectively to place a united face earlier than the Taliban.
But Ghani’s belligerent working fashion undermined him once more.
“He worked with a very small circle of ‘yes’ men and got filtered news about the country from them,” stated Torek Farhadi, a former adviser to the Afghan authorities. “Others didn’t dare talk truth to him. He replaced all experienced people in the army and the government with junior people beholden to him. In a traditional country, Ghani was the guy who governed upside down.”
As the Trump administration opened negotiations with the Taliban in 2016, Ghani was requested by U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to cobble collectively a powerful united crew __ one that might conduct powerful negotiations with the Taliban. Efforts rapidly faltered.
In April a annoyed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Ghani to forge a united stand. He warned the president that he needed to broaden his circle and be inclusive.
“Unity and inclusivity …. I believe is essential for the difficult work ahead,” Blinken wrote.
“Even with the continuation of financial assistance to your forces from the United States after an American military withdrawal, I am concerned the security situation will worsen and that the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains,” Blinken warned.
Roggio, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, stated there are numerous causes for the federal government’s collapse, however “Ghani was not the man to lead Afghanistan during its darkest hour.”
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