Rahmani was born in Kabul in 1978, a yr earlier than the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, thrusting the nation right into a cycle of wars that has continued for greater than 4 a long time. Her household fled to neighboring Pakistan the place she grew up as a refugee. Rahmani obtained a bachelor’s diploma in software program engineering at McGill University in Canada, and later a grasp’s in public administration from Columbia University. Before taking over her publish as Afghan ambassador in Washington, DC, Rahmani was Afghanistan’s ambassador to Indonesia.

Bergen’s dialogue with Rahmani was edited for readability and size.

RAHMANI: Distressed, apprehensive. I’m extraordinarily involved about what’s to come, and I’m extraordinarily apprehensive for my household and my folks again at residence.

BERGEN: Do you assume this was all avoidable, the scenario we’re in at the moment?

RAHMANI: Oh, sure. I imply, completely! Absolutely, it was avoidable. I do not assume at this level it issues who we must always level our fingers to and who we must always blame. It’s unlucky that we’re right here, however we’re right here.

This is pointing to an immense failure of Afghan democracy. It factors to the failure of diplomacy. It factors to the failure of the worldwide assist and help.

I believe it places into query all the sacrifices being made by Americans, by our allies, and multiplied by all the Afghans with a lot blood, tears, and sweat that all of us put into the previous 20 years.

BERGEN: Were you shocked by how shortly the Taliban took over a lot of the nation?

RAHMANI: No. I believe many individuals in worldwide group had been taken without warning, however I was conscious of the deterioration of morale amongst our safety forces, of the divisiveness of the politics again in Afghanistan. In many locations, the Afghan safety forces weren’t supported by Kabul.

BERGEN: Does this remind you of the summer time of Iraq in 2014 when ISIS took over and the Iraqi Army did not struggle?

Biden deserves blame for the debacle in Afghanistan

RAHMANI: Yes, there are particular similarities. Number one, it was the identical factor about how the Iraqi management ignored the actuality of Iraq. They weren’t an inclusive authorities. And there was a scarcity of maturity about the approach they conduced politics and navy technique.

BERGEN: There’s a message coming from the White House that President Joe Biden was proper, that current occasions display that the Afghan authorities and the Afghan Army are weak, and the indisputable fact that it is all collapsed so shortly proves that he was right.

RAHMANI: I do perceive President Biden’s place as a result of when he says that if he did this in six months or one yr as an alternative of now, there would not be a lot of a distinction, sadly, I agree with that. It would not be a lot completely different. Why? Because, sadly, the worldwide group didn’t dealer and implement a settlement main to the institution of a brand new inclusive authorities in time, which might have been held along with the assist of a peace-keeping mission.

BERGEN: But was it crucial to go to zero US troops in Afghanistan? Because, additionally, there’s 7,000 different NATO troops which have additionally left and 16,000 contractors. Was that crucial?

RAHMANI: Of course, that expedited the technique of the Taliban takeover at the pace of sunshine. There is not any query about that.

BERGEN: You’re the first Ambassador from Afghanistan to the United States who’s a lady. Do you assume a Taliban-controlled authorities shall be sending girls ambassadors in the future?

RAHMANI: No. Based on what I do know of them and their actions on the floor, I’m afraid that the very primary rights of ladies are in line to be sacrificed.

BERGEN: Which rights are at risk?

RAHMANI: Access to schooling, employment, even bodily presence of ladies in the public sphere is just not tolerated. I heard that one in all the Taliban representatives in Herat was questioned about girls working in the administration and in the judiciary, and he mentioned “Oh, that would be a very difficult thing. Women could work only in education and the health care sector.”

So, that is the mentality. What the Taliban are going to provide to girls is approach beneath equal citizenship. There’s little cause to assume anybody would have citizenship rights below the Taliban, primarily based on earlier expertise. But even so, girls shall be handled as a “lower class,” deemed match just for particular roles and nothing else.


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