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Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan, has little importance for his future

Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan, has little importance for his future

KABUL, Afghanistan – Attends international conferences, meets with diplomats, has just inaugurated the dam and has given patriotic speeches vowing to defend his country against the Taliban.

But the extent to which Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has control over the future of his country and what he controls has become a debate among politicians, analysts and citizens. Or rather, the question has largely been resolved: not many.

From most perspectives, Mr. Ghani – who is well qualified for his work and has credentials, Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, Columbia, the World Bank and the United Nations in his background – is completely isolated. Urgent author with a first-rate intelligence, he depends on the advice of a few who don’t even want to watch TV news, say those he knows, and quickly lose allies.

This creates problems for a country where the Islamist insurgency is fierce According to the United Nations, almost half of the population is hungry at the level of the crisis. According to the United Nations, the huge balance of government money comes from abroad and endemic weak governance and widespread corruption are endemic.

Meanwhile, the Americans are preparing to pull out the last remaining troops, in the hope that the Afghan forces they support today will lead to a fall in the medium term.

“The situation is dire,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, the country’s former head of intelligence services. “We are getting weaker and weaker. Security is weak, everything is getting weaker, and the Taliban are taking advantage. “

The United States has consistently distanced itself from the 71-year-old Mr. Ghani, and has frequently engaged in contact with the Taliban and regional mediators in the region. The Afghan warlords, the powerful sites of alternative power, clearly condemn or reject it.

The country’s parliament has twice rejected its budget and is distrustful. His main opponent, the Taliban, refuses to entertain the idea of ​​a deal with Mr. Ghani. According to Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Commission, his tenure was weak from the start – voters had about 18.7 per cent of the victory in a fiercely contested 2019, which seems to have diminished.

U.S. officials have mostly lost patience with him. Many are fed up with those who refuse to make concessions to their opponents or see their elegant style. “Dead man walking” is a term used by some members of civil society to describe their political stance.

A a recent letter It was so harsh on the part of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken that it also seemed offensive to Afghans who were critical of Mr. Ghani.

In a language that could be used with a poorer student at the school than the head of state, the letter repeated three times “I beg you”. “I must make it clear to you, Mr. President,” Mr. Blinken continued, “that as long as our political process continues in Washington, the United States has not ruled out any possibility.” The unspoken subtext was clear: Your impact is small.

“Being an Afghan, you feel humiliated,” said Hekmat Khalil Karzai, head of a reflection in Afghanistan and a cousin of former President Hamid Karzai. “But I think Ghana is worth it too,” Mr Karzai said. “He’s kissing the death of his closest partner.”

The Biden administration is conducting multinational talks, which are set to take place in Istanbul this month, to finalize a plan for progress. At the heart of the U.S. proposal is a temporary government until the election.

In that interim arrangement, the Taliban and the current government would share power, according to a leaked draft. Such a set-up may require Mr. Ghani to leave, a move he has not repeatedly refused.

Mr Ghani has tabled a counter-proposal that he intends to release soon, calling for a ceasefire, a temporary “peace government” that makes clear potential make-up, and then an early election that promises not to run.

Both the American plan and that of Mr. Ghani could be initial, as the Taliban have never said they will agree to the election, nor have they stated that they will go along with any government plans or settle for power distribution.

“From what we are seeing, they want absolute power, and they are waiting to take power by force,” Mr. Ghani’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, said in an interview.

While Mr. Ghani is constantly losing political capital in Kabul and international partners, the country’s military situation is deteriorating. Every day reports of explosions or gunfire from members of the security forces are reported.

“They can’t continue to do that,” said a senior diplomat in western Kabul about permanent wear and tear. “The government’s toll and its credibility and legitimacy are not sustainable.”

In September 1996, when the Taliban entered Kabul with almost no opponents and began to establish their harsh regime, they persecuted the capital.

Inside the presidential palace, an 83-acre parklike campus, protected by seven layers of security, the inner circle of Mr. Ghani’s close associates is small and small. After a military helicopter shot down a military helicopter last month, its respected Interior Minister, the army general, was released. His attorney general, who had a rare reputation for integrity, resigned. He expelled the short-term finance minister.

A former senior official argued that he was far removed from reality and what was happening on the ground.

Mr. Mohib, however, rejected that assessment. “This criticism comes from a political elite who believe they have been rejected,” he said.

Some former officials stated that Mr. Ghani was forced to micromanage, including participating in details of military and personnel decisions, as well as the head of the local police. “He likes that because he feels alone,” said Mr. Karzai, the only one with the ability to make serious decisions.

Mr Mohib said the allegation of micromanagement was a “terrible abuse”, adding that the president had not attended a security meeting for “weeks” and added that he was “aware of the strategic picture”.

Mr Ghani’s communications office disagreed with the request for an interview with the president. A senior assistant did not respond to the interview request.

It seems that the effects of Mr. Ghani’s isolation are happening in real time. The president has a strong view of the country, but selling it and operating it politically is not his strong suit, and he appears in the nation’s divisions, said a senior Western diplomat in Kabul. That is not good for the unity of Afghanistan, the diplomat argued.

These divisions resonate from Kabul to the fragile regions of the country, where independent militias and other longtime power brokers have rearmed themselves or are preparing to do so.

In the center of the country, there has been months of low-intensity fighting between government forces and militias of Shiite minority war leaders, fueled by a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in March. Mr. Ghani and his aides have taken an active role in managing the conflict, much to the chagrin of the Afghan army.

“This is what we wanted to avoid. We are already stretched out, “said a senior Afghan security official.” And here, do you want to start another war? “

The talks coming to Turkey could eventually be like the last ones in Moscow and Dushanbe (Tajikistan) – with poor communication in the hope of deploring violence and achieving peace. The American idea – to replace old talks in Qatar that have not gone anywhere in a new venue – is not necessarily a bet to win. The truth is that the initial signs are not hopeful, Mr. Ghani once again rejects America’s first proposals, and the Taliban are not aggressively committed to the ideas on the table.

“If the US comes out and there is no political agreement, then we have serious problems,” a senior Afghan security official said.

“Militarily, we don’t have high expectations,” he said. “If we don’t get something, the Taliban will march. It’s going to be a tough fight. “

Fahim Abed has made his contribution.

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