A billion dollars less in aid for Afghanistan this year, another billion in 2021: The United States is putting pressure on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah they put an end to their quarrel and formed a unity government to negotiate with the Taliban.
During a visit of less than nine hours, Monday March 23, in Kabul, the head of the American diplomacy Mike Pompeo tried unsuccessfully to bring together the two men, by conversing separately then together with them. Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah were both candidates in the September presidential election. Outgoing President Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner in February but his rival refuses to concede defeat on charges of massive fraud.
At the same time, the United States signed a peace agreement with the Taliban on Saturday February 29 in Doha. After 18 years of war, the text provides for the gradual withdrawal within 14 months of all American and foreign forces from Afghanistan, provided that the insurgents keep their security commitments and enter into direct peace negotiations with the Kabul government. These inter-Afghan negotiations, initially scheduled to start on Tuesday, March 10, have been delayed, due to the institutional crisis and Ashraf Ghani’s opposition to a prisoner exchange provided for by the agreement: 5,000 Taliban prisoners , against 1,000 prisoners of government forces.
Immediate reduction in US aid
A left-wing party from the Afghan capital, Mike Pompeo then traveled to Doha where he met for the first time the Taliban’s chief negotiator, Abdul Ghani Baradar. On the way back to Washington, the American secretary of state strongly criticized Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah for “Their failure to reach an agreement on an inclusive government”.
Because of this “Failure”, Mike Pompeo announced the reduction ” immediate “Of American aid to Afghanistan while promising its recovery if Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah could reach an agreement. ” We will continue to do whatever is necessary to support the Afghan security forces However, he said. Despite these bottlenecks, the US withdrawal will continue and the United States has granted Afghanistan $ 15 million (13.8 million euros) to help it fight the Coronavirus.
Taliban continue attacks
If it continues, this impasse risks overturning the process started by the agreement reached in February. Supported by a coalition of militia leaders, Abdullah Abdullah began to form a parallel government. For their part, the Taliban have not stopped their attacks on Afghan forces. At least 24 members of the country’s security forces were killed Thursday, March 19, in the southern province of Zabul, and other operations targeted government forces in northeastern Kunduz province.
The specter of a health crisis
In addition to these battles, there is the specter of a major health crisis, with the arrival in recent weeks of tens of thousands of Afghans returning from Iran, one of the countries most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. .