KABUL (SW) – Analysts have criticized political leadership over loss of $ 1billion worth of U.S. funds due to electoral rift between president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and self-proclaimed president of ‘inclusive government’, Abdullah Abdullah.
In a televised address, president Ashraf Ghani thanked the U.S. for granting $ 15 million worth of aid to fight spread of the COVID-19. On the political impasse in the country, president Ghani said Abdullah Abdullah has been offered a key role in spearheading the peace process and cabinet positions to his party members. “But, he (Abdullah) wanted change in constitution, and overnight — an authority I don’t have”, he said.
The electoral rift between president Ghani and Abdullah resulted in Washington on Sunday announcing to cut aid to Afghanistan by $ 1 billion following a trip to Kabul by the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
President Ghani vowed contingency plans are in place so that key sectors are not affected, and hoped the U.S. would reconsider the move.
However, in a separate message, Abdullah lamented that the trip to Kabul by the top U.S. diplomat was not properly utilized to end the rift. “Mr. Pompeo delivered the U.S. government’s message for the serious need to resolve the crisis through political leaders of the country (Afghanistan) and asserted for urgency on this matter”, he said.
Analyst Muhib Sharif said the reduction in funds and Pompeo’s meeting with the Taliban leader in Kabul are alarming signs for Afghanistan. He said the Taliban are exploiting the rift and differences among politicians in Afghanistan.
Abdul Wadood Pidram, a member of the transition justice group, said in this regard that Washington is using this curb in funds as a tool to pressurize Afghan politicians. He warned continuation of the raging violence would only mean more sufferings for the common people.