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Taliban Behind Gates of Kabul, Afghan Officials at Gates of White House

Taliban Behind Gates of Kabul, Afghan Officials at Gates of White House

Friday, 25 June, 2021 - 04:15
Camelia Entekhabifard
Editor-in-chief of the Independent Persian.

Whenever one writes about Afghanistan, the words smell of blood, explosion, and a lack of security. Besides security threats, explosions, and the news of Taliban terrorists entering cities, now kidnappings which do not discriminate between women, men, or children, have become a lateral problem of the people. Any imaginable misery is raining down on the Afghan people, and the world is too shellshocked to do anything. American soldiers are leaving Afghanistan, and every soldier's empty place is filled by shadows of horror death almost immediately.

Neither Khalilzad's peace talks nor fighting Taliban terrorists and their lackeys has got anywhere. Since the fall of the Taliban on September 11, 2001, billions were spent to provide peace and security and to fight the Taliban; thousands of foreign soldiers were killed, but neither put an end to fighting, lack of security, and poverty.

Now the blighted Afghan people have neither security and calm, nor the means to subsist: Their youth are slaughtered in the army; their women and children are targeted by the terrorists' blind or targeted IEDs, vehicle bombings, suicide vests, mortar shells or machine guns.

The only thing that is not clear seems to be the failure of the government and international institutions to put and end to the war of attrition with the Taliban, and to bring security and peace after 21 years.

They failed partly because Afghanistan's political and governing system was flawed. Unfortunately, after the 2008 elections, Afghanistan has never seen a powerful, centralized government in power.

Political tugs of war, party and ethnic skirmishes, and the support each of the political groups received from foreign governments undermined the international community's efforts to create a stable country and to recon-struct it.

After Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai's main rival, objected to the 2009 election results, investigations showed widespread fraud and violations, leading to Karzai's votes to drop below 50 percent, forcing a run-off election. In protest against the electoral process, however, Abdullah withdrew, and Karzai was elected. Due to constant undermining by his political rivals, he was never able to govern properly. The winner was neither Abdullah nor those who had manipulated the election results.

The 2014 election was not much different: This time Ashraf Ghani was declared victor, but again Abdullah refused to concede, and his powerful sup-porters threatened to topple Ghani and declare parallel governments in 14 to 14 provinces. It was the final months of Obama's presidency, and there was no other option but to close the controversial case of the elections somehow.

After a visit to Kabul by US State Secretary John Kerry, a fabricated Unity Government was born out of the election, a government with no legal standing, in which Abdullah was to assume the post of prime minister after two years, following an envisioned change to the constitution. The change never happened. The outcome was a government with Ghani as president and Abdullah as the CEO. During the five years that ensued, each was constantly undermining the other, none willing to resign in the interest of the people, the country, and the security and authority of the ruling government.

The 2019 election was no different: once again Abdullah objected, Ghani denied, and worst of all, each held a separate inauguration ceremony, all while the country was in crisis and the threat of a civil war.

To avoid a national disaster, Abdullah was given the chairmanship of the Peace Council with all its trappings, including a palace, budget, staff and bureaucracy. That, however, did not stop the two rivals to engage in a tug of war instead of trying to focus on important national security issues.

If one of them had resigned and a centralized government had taken over, the plight of the Afghan people might not have been as it is today.

Ghani and Abdullah were fighting even to this very day, this time over travelling to the US and meeting with the US president and other officials. While their country is collapsing and the Taliban have entered Afghan cities and advance to the gates of Qandahar and Takhar, each has left home and taken a 50-strong delegation to the US.

President Ghani, Abdullah, and Vice President Amrullah Saleh are all in America now, with no-one left to think of the Afghan people in such emergency circumstances. Each wants to appear before the cameras, each trying to prove that he is the most important political figure in Afghanistan.

If either of the two top officials backed off so that the other could embark on this important visit, how can one expect them to achieve anything in talks with the Taliban or do something for the people? The reason the talks with the Taliban will go nowhere is that personal gains come before nation-al interests.

Apparently neither the Afghan people nor the US know what to do with these ambitious, cut-throat rivals.

The US says Ghani and Abdullah each insisted on visiting Washington in or-der not to hand the opportunity to his rival. Protocols are causing a head-ache in Washington: Who should sit at the top of the table, and who should the US president meet first? At the end of the day, each is trying to prove that he is more important.

In the 12 years since the 2009 election, Abdullah has neither become president, nor has he allowed others to rule; Likewise, Ghani has refused to let Abdullah alone and manage.

It is the Afghan people who pay the price of the ambitions and the political failure of rivalling groups; a nation living in fear of the Taliban's return and widespread lack of security. They have nowhere to run to or no-one to turn to.

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