If cowardice was a person

There is little or zero attention being paid to the decision of the Afghan President to flee from Kabul without the tiniest bit of attempt at resistance. He even left his own ministers behind. His reason was “to avoid bloodshed”. A rather dishonest, criminal excuse. A soldier would be executed in the same circumstance for abandoning his or her position. Perhaps he was referring to his own blood. Almost 25 years ago in September 1996, Mohammad Najibullah, the second President of Afghanistan with his brother, was tortured to death by the Taliban. His body, castrated, after it was dragged through the streets was hanged on the walls of the presidential palace in Kabul. The Taliban is strong, truly. According to Aljazeera, Taliban fighters are estimated to be around 100,000. The Economist put it at 85,000. The Taliban is a woman-hating terror group, explaining why its fighters are all men.

Also, the Taliban is/was publicly backed by many countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Qatar until 9/11. China and Russia are said to be huge supporters of the Taliban. It is understandable that Russia would enter on the side of the Taliban to bleed the Americans in revenge for Russian blood in the same country and in a similar context in the 1970s and 1980s [read about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan]. However, with a force of 184,000 men and women, a budget of $12,000,000,000 (annually). The fall of Kabul was more of a panic than leadership. Ashraf Ghani would live to regret his panic when his moment in history arrived.

The Afghan Air Force had over 200 refurbished aircraft, including A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft, Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Pilatus PC-12s military transport aircraft, as well as UH-60A Black Hawk, Mil Mi-17, Mi-24, and other types of helicopters. It also included trainers such as Aero L-39 Albatros and Cessna 182. The manpower of the Afghan Air Force was around 7,000, which includes over 450 pilots. It also had a small number of female pilots [Wikipedia]. All of these were never deployed. Ghani gave them to the Taliban free of charge – “to avoid bloodshed.” Indeed the fall of Kabul has made bloodshed easier; At the entry of Coalition troops about 20 years ago, Kabul residents trooped out en mass to cheer the “liberating forces”.

A phenomenon one can be sure the Taliban have not forgotten. There was little enthusiasm when the group captured the city a few days ago. Revenge killings are bound to happen. Female army officers would be violated and the male slaughtered. Such massacres have been carried out in other places within the countries leaving horrible tales to be told by witnesses. It is also strange that many observers claim that the Taliban has overwhelming support in all of Afghanistan despite tens of thousands struggling to escape their rule. The feeling in Kabul is that of betrayal by Ashraf Ghani. Cabinet ministers have expressed deep sadness. The defence chief openly cursed the former President. The cowardice of Ghani is historic. An unpatriotic leader and trickster.

He was the wrong leader for the moment. He could hold Kabul and negotiate from the position of strength. Now his colleagues who have remained brave and stayed behind will have no choice but to unconditionally surrender to the invading terrorists. If cowardice had a face, it would be Ashraf Ghani’s. “Good men don’t run.”

Ojo, Aderemi Ibadan, Nigeria @RealOjoAderemi ojderemi@gmail.com


Ojo, Aderemi is a Historian, teacher, public speaker, writer, politician, and community organiser. He was trained at the University of Ibadan and was President of the Students Union.

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