Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani agreed on Sunday that the Trump’s administration’s deal with the Taliban that intended to lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country was a disaster.
During an appearance on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” Ghani told host Fareed Zakaria that he was critical of the Afghan government being excluded from initial talks.
Ghani declined to say whether he felt betrayed by the U.S. but when Zakaria asked, “Do you think that Trump accord with the Taliban was a disaster?” Ghani replied, “It was,” adding that he believed the Afghan-led portion of the process was “hijacked.”
“We were excluded from the peace table, and the peace process was incredibly flawed. It’s assumption that Taliban had changed— were delusion,” he added. “The process violates everything that— from Acheson and Marshall to Kissinger and Baker, regarding preparation, regarding organization, we never got to discussions. It was all foreplay.”
Ghani also told Zakaria that Trump initially said his Afghanistan and South Asia strategy was going to be a condition-based agreement.
“This agreement was supposed to be conditional. But none of the core conditions was not only observed. The government, our partner, the government of the United States became the enforcer of the Taliban agreement on us, threatening us with cut-off of aid, with every conceivable form of pressure to release 5,000 of the most hardened criminals, et cetera,” Ghani told Zakaria.
Ghani’s remarks come nearly one year after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was ultimately executed by the Biden administration.
The troops’ withdrawal led to the Taliban regaining full control of the country, resulting in thousands of Afghan citizens desperately fleeing the country in fear. The country is plagued with high unemployment rates, soaring food insecurity and setbacks for women seeking an education.
Ghani, who fled the country amid the chaos, told Zakaria that he hopes to return to Afghanistan in the near future.
“I want to be able to help my country heal,” Ghani said. “And I hope to be able to do that from the place that every cell of my body belongs and without which I always feel alien.”
Updated 6:16 p.m.