Former President Ashraf Ghani (center) speaks during a joint press conference while former Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassol (right) and former Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal (left) look on in Kabul. (Photo by SHAH MARAI/AFP via Getty Images)
UPDATED 11:23 AM PT – Friday, September 3, 2021
Afghanistan’s former Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said he was not surprised the Afghan government fell as quickly as it did. During an interview with the Associated Press, the former Afghan official stressed Afghanistan’s government was not a western democracy, especially while it was under the rule of Ashraf Ghani.
He went on to say, “particularly in the past seven years under President Ghani, we also had a semi dictatorship, a monopolization.”
Zakhilwal added the Afghan people had little to no allegiance to their government after years of rampant corruption and fake elections to keep Ghani as well as the country’s other political elites in power.
“So there wasn’t much of a democratic legitimacy in the system either and that was one reason why it was so easy for the Taliban to topple the government,” he explained. “Not only the people had distanced themselves from the government, not because of the democracy, but because of the lack of it, I would say.”
Zakhilwal said this meant none of the government’s security or military forces wanted to fight for the Afghan government when it mattered.
“Also our security, the national security forces didn’t want to fight for President Ghani or the close circle that was governing,” he stated. “That was the main problem then, I would say the democracy itself.”
Considering these known challenges with Afghanistan’s government, Joe Biden reportedly asked Ghani during a phone call in July to create the perception he was in control, despite knowing the Taliban takeover of the country was inevitable. In the days leading up to the Taliban takeover of Kabul, Biden also insisted on multiple occasions the Afghan government was up to the task of taking on the Taliban without U.S. support.
Reporter: “Your own Intel community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse.”
Biden: “That is not true.”
Reporter: “Can you please clarify what they told you about whether that will happen or not?
Biden: “That is not true. They did not reach that conclusion. “
Biden has continued to deny the Intelligence Community knew the collapse was inevitable by saying there was no evidence for it.
“The idea that the Taliban would takeover was premised on the notion that somehow the 300,000 troops we trained and equipped was just going to collapse, they were just going to give up,” he expressed. “I don’t think anybody anticipated that.”
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s former finance minister said he didn’t believe western involvement helped in the end at all. He added leaders including Biden continued to enable Ghani and his corrupt government.