Sher Ahmadzai: President Biden promised to back Afghanistan - EXCLUSİVE İNTERVİEW
06 July 2021
her Jan Ahmadzai, Director Center for Afghanistan Studies, University of Nebraska Omaha gave an exclusive interview to Baku Tribune. He worked in the Afghan government from 2002 to 2007 in different capacities. His last position was as scheduling manager for then-President Hamid Karza.
- The government of Afghanistan may lose control over the country within six months after the withdrawal of American troops from the country. This is stated in a new report by the US intelligence services, referred to by The Wall Street Journal. How would you comment on this? Is there such a risk at all?
- I believe there is a risk of government falling if there is no or any kind of support from International community or the US. However, if their support continues, that is not possible. Yes, there are many politicians commenting that without the support of the US the Afghan government can fall into Taliban's hand within 6 months. Also the real possibility in this case of the civil war. However, I do not see that happening because a president Ghani recently visited the United States and held a meeting with US President Biden.There have been promises made by US leadership including President Biden that US will stand with Afghanistan.
- At the same time, as the newspaper notes, some US officials say that the Afghan authorities will hold out for no more than three months. Now, the newspaper notes, the White House is asking the military to slow down the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Does the military leadership still intend to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the scheduled date of September 11?
- I think by September 11 US forces will be withdrawn. But I don't think if the US will withdraw all US forces. President Biden said in recently meeting with president Ghani, that the US will stand with Afghan forces and asses Afghanistan militarily, financially and military equipment.
- Beginning the this year, there has been a series of military successes by the Taliban, including the capture of a key area in northern Kunduz province this week. What is behind the Taliban's military successes? Why can't Ashraf Ghani's government deal with them?
- I agree. Taliban have taken many districts recently. There have been counterattacks. Six districts were taken back from Taliban by Afghan forces. There are multiple problems why some of the forces could not withstand Taliban assault and defend districts. First of all those districts are difficult to support for the central government. And the local forces that are not well equipped. In addition, all this makes difficult for Afghan government to defend them.
- Some experts believe that the Taliban will come to power. How will the internal political situation in Afghanistan change if the Taliban come to power? Will Peace and Stability Come to Afghanistan?
- I've also heard some political experts believe Taliban will come to power. However, I don't see that happening. Because the international community and the neighbors of Afghanistan have clearly stirred the Taliban. But there is another thing that Taliban is not listening to them. And they are thinking of military takeover. If Taliban takes Kabul then there will unfortunately be no peace, but war. Because there are too many forces in Afghanistan who will test Taliban and continue fighting Taliban. Unfortunately the war in Afghanistan will continue.
- There is an opinion that the coming of the Taliban to power is necessary and will be useful to the people, Afghanistan. Is it so? How would you comment on this?
- I strongly disagree with statements that they say Taliban must come to power in Afghanistan or it is necessary and useful for the people of Afghanistan. We have seen their government when they governed Afghanistan for seven years. I do not foresee that happen again in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is not the same country that it was some years ago. There is a new generation. Young generation does not support the Taliban. However, if in some other parts of the country some people support Taliban it is not because they love Taliban, they simply have no other better choice. Therefore, I do not see complete takeover or necessity for Taliban to be the only government in Afghanistan. I think they can be the part of current government, currents state. But not as eminent as they are dreaming of.
- Russia is in favor of launching a direct inter-Afghan dialogue with the assistance of international partners. How do you assess this initiative?
- I see Russia is trying to launch initiatives to engage with Afghan partners. But any initiative that is launched by anyone , if undermines the interests of the government of Afghanistan, which is recognized by Russia also, that will not be that of peace. There is a priority that should have been given to Afghan government. Because that set up has been made by the sacrifice of the Afghan people last two years. Russia should not directly engage with Taliban at the cost of Afghan state. They have done it unfortunately. There should be no such case any more. Because if there is no government in Afghanistan that is danger for Russian Federation. Or any other Central Asian republic.
- The Uzbek army is on alert. In connection with the aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan began a sudden check of the combat readiness of the troops, the Ministry of Defense of the republic said. Is there a risk of Taliban infiltration into Central Asia? Are the Taliban looking for new ways to penetrate Central Asia?
- I can understand why the Uzbek army is in alert. Because there is a recent incident at the border with Tajikistan, where Taliban run over a border post. I think that the worry that the Uzbek government has, is understandable. Any takeover of Taliban in Afghanistan is not a good message to any Central Asian country. Because any takeover or victory of Taliban will embolden any terrorist groups who have always hoped for reemerging and working in Central Asia. Like ISIS who had dreams of waging jihad in Central Asia. They will definitely be embolden. There is absolute understandable worry among the Central Asian states.
İnterview by Kerim Sultanov