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Editorial: Shooting the messenger

It wasn’t long after the Twitter duel between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman, Sibghatullah Ahmadi, and the Presidential Spokesman Sediq Sediqqi when reports emerged that Ahmadi has been relieved of his post over his latest “irresponsible comments.” The former spokesman bickered with Sidiqi over the warm welcome and protocol accorded to the Taliban in Islamabad this week as a 12-member Taliban delegation led by its deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other officials – with both sides seemingly agreeing on the need to resume the Afghan peace process. Both spokespersons engaged in a messy fight by locking horns and thus represented two different stances of their entities within one government– one hailing the Taliban’s foray to Pakistan while the other condemning it. Soon after, the presidential spokesman revealed that President Ashraf Ghani had announced replacement for Ahmadi, adding he was fired due to his latest ‘irresponsible’ comments – which were so because the Taliban have been so far dismissive of the Afghan government in the peace negotiations and the presidential spokesman took it on himself to oppose the processes which the government is not part of and the MoFA spokesman took the stance of supporting every call for peace. Such squabbles within the government reflect badly on its capability to lead the nation properly because it cannot even handle a spokesperson, something that raises the question that how would it tackle the larger issues the state is encountering? 

This foreign policy disarray and confusion have raised various apprehensions among Afghans. As much as Ahmadi’s remarks were supposedly against national interests, biased and unethical at such a critical time when the peace remains to elude Afghans, it’s the inferiors who pay the price for the blunders and flawed policies of the higher-ups. The dismissed person was just a mouthpiece and was assigned to represent the bosses because it’s obvious he didn’t have a role in the decision making at all. He wouldn’t do anything else other than what he is told to by his supervisors within the ministry. On top of all that, he is reportedly also referred to the AGO for prosecution. It’s in a way like in the past eras when the messenger was shot and blamed for bearing the bad news with a hope that such move would resolve the problem at hand. On the other hand, there are reports that the MoFA has rejected his sacking until the presidential election’s – which took place on September 28 – final results are announced.  These tussles and incoordination within the government signify that the government has many structural problems merely due to our leaders’ deeds, who are steering the Afghan state to doom and division through their power struggles. These issues should be a lesson for the new government – which would hopefully emerge soon if there is no untoward problem with the results – to pay heed to and find solutions for beforehand in order to have a sole and firm stance whether it’s in foreign policy, peace or other spheres.

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