Tag Archives: Abdullah Abdullah

The Poison in Afghanistan Politics

KABUL, Afghanistan -- American Secretary of State John Kerry Shakes Hands With Afghan Presidential Candidates Abdullah and Ghani on August 8, 2014. U.S. State Department photo, Public Domain

KABUL, Afghanistan — American Secretary of State John Kerry with Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, then Afghan Presidential Candidates, August 8, 2014. Their back room deal over-rode Afghans democratic exercise, in which millions defied threats to have their votes cast, writes Manthorpe. U.S. State Department photo, Public Domain

Afghanistan’s unity deal contains poisonous seeds which will pollute the country’s politics, writes International Affairs columnist Jonathan Manthorpe. Afghans turned out in their millions, defying Taliban and other threats, to have their votes cast. Ghani, Abdullah, with Kerry and other outsiders as handmaidens, over-rode that democratic exercise, argues Manthorpe. “Their backroom deal keeps at the hub of power all the corrupt and often brutal regional warlords and dispensers of patronage who have blighted Afghan politics.” An excerpt of his new F&O column, Afghan unity deal ensures future conflict (subscription):

As rival candidates for power in Afghanistan signed a power-sharing deal on Sunday, an understandable sigh of relief swept through the corridors of power in those countries that have expended troops and treasure in the last dozen years trying to get the central Asian nation on its feet.

In the six months since the first round of the presidential elections it looked as though the whole Afghan project might collapse into new chaos as the two main candidates, former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, exchanged increasingly bitter allegations of vote-rigging.

It has taken vigorous and persistent arm-twisting by United States Secretary of State John Kerry and many others to bludgeon Ghani and Abdullah to agree to a government of national unity. Under the pact, Ghani will be President and Abdullah has been given the authority to appoint a Chief Executive – essentially a Prime Minister – a job he is likely to grab himself.

However, the details of the deal contain poisonous seeds, which will pollute the new Afghan political process in coming years, and probably within months. An early indication of the troubles ahead came with Abdullah’s insistence that the results of the United Nations-supervised audit by the Independent Election Commission of the results of June’s run-off vote for the presidency not be published …. read Afghan unity deal ensures future conflict (Log in first; subscription or day pass* required)

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What to make of Bowe Bergdahl?

Two events in Afghanistan recently seem to be at odds with each other: the Tabliban’s release of American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for a prisoner swap, and the attempted killing of presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah.”Yet these two pictures are not mutually exclusive,” writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe. ” There are strands that bind them together.” An excerpt of Manthorpe’s new column: 

USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_CroppedHow, then, to reconcile the relaxed body language of the Americans and Taliban at the handover of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a week ago, and a suicide bomb attack today on the election campaign convoy of Afghanistan’s likely next President, Abdullah Abdullah?

The circumstances around the release of Bergdahl on May 31 in exchange for five Taliban leaders being held at the United States’ prison camp at Guantanamo Bay contain efforts to move to a political playing field. After 12 years of war since the American-led invasion of Afghanistan late in 2011 and the ouster of the Taliban regime, there is urgency on both sides. A runoff vote in Afghanistan’s Presidential election is due on June 14, with the results posted on July 22. This will likely produce an administration led by former Foreign Minister Abdullah, who is committed to engagement with the Taliban, provided there is an end to violence.

For veteran leaders among the Taliban this offers some hope of a role in government and an opportunity to pursue their puritanical Islamic agenda. It also tends to reassert their authority over the young blood fighters, many of whom believe a battlefield victory is still obtainable … read more* 

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