Ex-Afghan minister says timing of US exit 'irresponsible'
Nargis Nehan, a former member of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani's cabinet who days ago fled Afghanistan for Norway, on Tuesday condemned the US handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"The US have been in Afghanistan for 20 years, staying one more year longer wouldn't have made any difference for them, at least financially as well as politically," Nehan told AFP from Oslo where she is staying in quarantine after arriving last week.
Nehan, who previously served as acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, said the withdrawal was "mismanaged" and "irresponsible" and with a delayed exit evacuations could have been handled in an organised manner and enabled a real agreement between the government and the Taliban.
"President Joe Biden could have said that by end of September 2022 I want zero troops in Afghanistan. But until that time I want to make sure that we have a political settlement between the government and the Taliban and that we have also evacuated all our employees and local partners," Nehan said.
The former minister, who explained that she resigned in October of 2019 over frustration that she lacked the political support to enact reforms in the sector, said she fled to Norway after her driver was shot by unknown assailants the day the Taliban took over.
As her driver, who survived the attack, was not a high profile individual, Nehan and her family believed she had been the intended target.
"I had worked in the government as well as in the civil society and I have been a very vocal, activist and politician. So when you're very vocal you create enemies," Nehan said.
She also said the way things were left meant that a lot of the money and effort invested over the last two decades had been wasted.
"Basically, the over two trillion of investments that were done by the international community and as well as blood, and mostly blood of Afghans. They just let all of it go and it's very disappointing that we see nobody holds them accountable," Nehan said.
In addition, Nehan worried that the sense of abandonment experienced by many Afghans would foster a sense of grievance against the international community, leading to a breeding ground for extremism.
"That's my fear... we'll see much more extremism coming from Afghanistan," Nehan said, adding that it would be fuelled "out of poverty, and out of that feeling of betrayal and grievances that they have."