GHANI, ABDULLAH 'PLAYING WITH FIRE': TOP US DIPLOMAT
While the enemies of Afghanistan are watching, the fighting between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah is playing with fire, a top US diplomat said, who did not wish to be named.
Referring to a recent failed mediation effort between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the US diplomat said that Ghani and Abdullah have pushed the country into a crisis to secure a seat that is for a limited period of time, if there are breakthroughs in the peace process.
He said that Washington has grave concerns about the ongoing political stalemate between Ghani and Abdullah and that the US could further decline its aid to Afghanistan if the political stalemate continues.
“The approach by Ghani and Abdullah is like playing with fire--the enemy is watching, perhaps there are some people who want to exploit the situation in their favor,” the top US diplomat told Afghan journalists in Kabul.
“In a real sense, the work of Abdullah and Ghani is strengthening the weight of Taliban’s role and it supports them. We are seriously concerned about the dangers which can originate from a lack of agreement between the two doctors (Ghani and Abdullah). We are against the parallel government, two small teams have created all these problems for a seat, for a seat which is for a limited period of time,” added the US diplomat.
Washington’s move to cut aid to Afghanistan over the ongoing political crisis has also sparked concerns among Afghans.
“I hope that the United States remains alongside the people and government of Afghanistan,” said Abdul Sattar, a member of parliament.
“the Afghan politicians need to find a settlement as soon as possible,” said Matiullah Zaland, a political analyst in Kabul.
Meanwhile Laurel Miller, director of the Crisis Group’s Asia Program, has aid that it would be illogical for Ghani and Abdullah to not take the US aid cut to Afghanistan seriously.
“I think the US threat to cut the billion dollars this year, and another billion dollars next year, is a serious threat, I think it would be very unwise not to take that threat seriously, and I also think that if the US does cut its aid to that degree, it is possible that other foreign donors would follow the US,” said Miller.
Nevertheless, close aides to Abdullah Abdullah have said that no regular discussions between Ghani and Abdullah’s team have been held following the conclusion of Pompeo’s trip to Kabul.
“We have more concerns than the foreign countries, but the concern does not mean that we accept a fraudulent side, we hope that the realities are now clarified,” said Fazel Ahmad Manavi, a close aide to Abdullah.