In a short speech to the nation, Ghani tried to appear calm and to keep the resolving situation under control. He assured the public that he would find “emergency” funds to make up for the loss of aid and said “the door is still open” for negotiations with Abdullah Abdullah, the rival who has insisted that he join the September presidential elections were intended to form a parallel government.
“We offered Dr. Abdullah an important role in the peace process, but he wanted a system that is not in our constitution, something that I cannot change,”
In a statement on Tuesday, Abdullah thanked Pompeo for trying to solve the crisis, but said that the opportunity created by his visit had not been “properly used”. He said that he still sees dialogue as the best way to solve problems and that “restoring peace is a priority for us.” He said that the Afghan security forces would “remain impartial in any situation.”
But Pompeo, who spent hours arguing with both men but had nothing to show on Monday evening, was very disappointed with them. In a statement, he said that their adamant behavior “was a direct threat” to the interests of the United States and “dishonored” Afghans and their foreign partners who “sacrificed their lives and treasures” to “a new future” for the country build up.
Pompeo said the Trump administration would begin “an immediate review” of all aid to Afghanistan, starting with a $ 1 billion reduction this year. However, he did not mention any details or the timing of the cuts, and later told reporters that he hoped Ghani and Abdullah would “bring their act together, and we need not do it”.
Contrary to his harsh reprimand from the leaders in Kabul, Pompeo praised the Taliban after meeting the group’s best negotiator in Qatar on Monday evening. He said the insurgents had “largely” fulfilled their part of a peace agreement signed with US officials there on February 29, and that the US government would continue its gradual withdrawal of troops.
The Taliban, for its part, issued a statement on Tuesday describing the Pompeo-Baradar Akhund meeting, which both agreed that “rigid implementation” of the terms of the agreement would “pave the way for intra-Afghan negotiations” and “last.” Peace “” and “a future Islamic government. “
Pompeo “assured” that the withdrawal of US forces would continue on schedule, reducing troops from about 14,000 to 8,600 in the next few months and withdrawing most of the others by the end of the year. But the insurgents are continuing an aggressive battlefield campaign that killed hundreds of Afghan security forces last month.
The statements by Ghani and Abdullah were reassuring, but left no doubt that they are still in dispute almost two weeks after the duel was inaugurated, even though US diplomats and numerous influential Afghans have since tried to mediate.
When the US threatened to cut aid to Kabul while trying to fulfill its pledges to the Taliban insurgents, many Afghans expressed a mixture of disgust with their leaders and fear of what might lie ahead on Tuesday. Some predicted that the Taliban would soon fill the power vacuum and begin to dismantle many of the democratic rights and freedoms that have been achieved in the past two decades.
“I am so sad today,” said Ehsanullah Zia, a former senior Afghan official who now heads the Kabul office of the US nonprofit peace institution. “If our leaders don’t clear up their differences, I’m afraid the world’s patience is running out.” They put personal interests above national interests. That is the story of our story, ”he added. “Nobody is willing to sacrifice for the Republic.”
Some observers blamed Ghani and Abdullah for the same; others took sides. Former President Hamid Karzai, who supports Abdullah, said he “showed great flexibility and willingness to reconcile, but Ghani rejected his suggestions.” Although Pompeo also failed to reconcile them, Karzai said he and others would continue to try to mediate. “There is so much at stake,” he said. “We can’t just give up.”
A senior Ghani advisor, who spoke anonymously to be open, accused Abdullah of “wanting too much for himself” at a time when much bigger troubles are plaguing the country, especially the admission of now late talks between Afghan leaders and government insurgents to end the 18-year war and forge a future government.
“This is not a one-on-one fight. It is a struggle for the future of the country, ”said the adjutant. “We hope that it is not too late to reconcile. If we fail, the results will not only be worse for Afghanistan, but also for the region, the United States and the world.”