Afghanistan’s US-created artificial government has run into serious problems as various factions demand privileges for supporting the two contending candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah. The government appears to be dysfunctional.
If the Taliban were President Ashraf Ghani’s only headache, he could live with it. They have spelled out their conditions: all foreign troops out of Afghanistan before they would sit down to talk, and a new constitution. Ghani’s, and his ambitious rival, Abdullah’s dilemma is the favours they have to return to those who backed them in the stretched-out presidential race.
When the 25-member Afghan cabinet was announced on January 12, three months after the formation of the government — cobbled together through American political and social engineering — it left many aspirants greatly disappointed. Talent was not a consideration; returning favours was. And it was based on ethnicity.
Ironically, the Ghani-Abdullah rivalry pales into insignificance compared to the squabbles they are faced with from their allies. Abdullah is facing a more serious challenge and he has fallen back on ethnicity to shore up his base. He ditched a strong contender, Zalmay Rassoul, a Pashtun and former foreign minister, by not nominating him to any post. Rassoul had thrown his support behind Abdullah in preference to Ghani.
The foreign minister slot went to Salahuddin Rabbani, son of a prominent Tajik politician, Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was slain in September 2011. The various factions are unhappy because they have not been given sufficiently large share of the power-pie they had expected. Many Afghans are wondering how long can the artificial government described as a donkey with two heads, last.