Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed on Sunday that the Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban was a disaster aimed at withdrawing US troops from the country.
During an appearance on CNN’s “Farid Zakaria GPS,” Ghani told host Farid Zakaria that he was critical of the Afghan government’s exclusion from the initial talks.
Ghani declined to say whether he felt betrayed by America but when Zakaria asked, “Do you think Trump’s deal with the Taliban was a disaster?” Ghani replied, “It was,” and that he believed the Afghan-led part of the process had been “hijacked.”
“We were excluded from the peace table and the peace process was incredibly flawed. The assumption that the Taliban has changed is delusional,” he added. “The process violates everything – from Acheson and Marshall to Kissinger and Baker, about preparation, about organization, we never had a discussion. It was all foreplay.”
Ghani also told Zakaria that Trump initially said his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy would be a conditions-based deal.
“This agreement should have been conditional. But none of the basic conditions were simply observed. The government, our partner, the government of the United States became the enforcer of the Taliban agreement on us, threatening to cut off aid to us, with every imaginable pressure to release 5,000 of the most hardened criminals, etc.” Ghani told Zakaria.
Ghani’s comments come almost a year after the chaotic US withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was finally implemented by the Biden administration.
With the withdrawal of the army, the Taliban took full control of the country, resulting in thousands of Afghan citizens fleeing the country in fear. The country faces high unemployment rates, increasing food insecurity and women seeking education.
Ghani, who fled the country amid the chaos, told Zakaria that he hoped to return to Afghanistan in the near future.
“I want to help my country heal,” Ghani said. “And I hope to be able to do that from a place where every cell in my body is and without which I always feel alienated.”
Updated at 6:16 pm