Dr. Farid Younos

Why Ashraf Ghani is losing the election in Afghanistan?


Saturday, June 24, 2014, in two days, Afghan people will go and vote again for the two front runners, namely Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. Thanks to social media that not only connected people around the world, but also opened the line of communication widely in which people freely sharing information.

There are a variety of factors that Ashraf Ghani, an American favored, losing the election in Afghanistan

  1. His tribal mentality. He proved not only in his speeches, but also by choosing another tribal man, Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek as his running mate.  Once upon a time he called Dostum as “known killer” and now he calls him as “ a charismatic leader. ” His associates,  Juma Khan Hamdard, Mohammad Ismail Yoon,  Anwar Haq Ahdi, including his uncle Qayum Kochi  and his brother Hashmat are well known as Pashtun nationalists who want the political dominance of Pashtun in Afghanistan.  In ancient regimes, Pashtuns were holding political power for more than two hundred years. But democracy requires citizenship that everyone should be equal before the law. In this regards, Pashtuns make up only 38% of population and non-Pashtun 62%. Playing ethnic card makes him a loser not a winner.
  2. All strong  presidential candidates who are all Pashtuns such as Zalmai Rasul, Abdul Rasul Sayaf and Gul Agha Sherzai joined Abdullah Abdullah. Another damage  to Ghani's campaign was the joining of Qutbuddin Helal, a weak presidential candidate who once belonged to Hizb Islami (Islamic party) of Hekmatyar. Hekmatyar has been identified as a tribalist when he declared Hazaras  “ a minority.” Afghanistan being an Islamic State; there is no minority or majority in Islam, but Muslims and non-Muslims. After Dostum, joining with a man who belongs to a party that destroyed Kabul for the sake of power badly damaged Ghani's reputation.
  3. Afghans are very kind and hospitable people, but they all have a suspicious feeling about foreigners and those who associate with them. Ghani during his tenure in the United States became  a candidate of Western interest in Afghanistan, especially when he joined the World Bank, an institution  many in the Middle East as well as in Afghanistan see as an instrument of American imperialism. The western media knows how to make one a celebrity or damage one's character. Ghani was called a “ top thinker” and “the most educated and Westernized of Afghanistan candidates”  by western media.  Western media not knowing Afghan culture and mentality, more damaged Ghani's reputation and created him as an American puppet. Especially Afghans know very well that there are many more Afghan educated in the United States and Europe who are much more educated than Ghani. Dov Zakheim in OpEd called Ghani “America's Man.”!!
  4. We all know that Afghanistan is a conservative Muslim nation. Ghani's wife, Rula is a Christian and that does not fit mainstream Afghan culture.
  5. Many Afghans of non-Pashtun descent think that Ghani is pro-Taliban when he declared in Kandahar that he releases more Taliban from prison. These Afghans think if Ghani is in power he will open the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan  for the Pashtuns of Pakistan to settle in Afghanistan and hence increase the Pashtun population and make them a majority for political rule.
  6. Contrary to what the western media claims about Ghani's achievement as finance minister, people  of Afghanistan with the policy of new liberalism of Ashraf  Ghani became miserable. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. Pakistani rupees still in circulation in Afghanistan, and the widespread corruption is due to economic malfunctioning of the State. 
  7.  Last and but not least, Ashraf Ghani has a bad temper, and thee are a lot of jokes, gossip and indications of this issue in Afghan media. I personally witnessed his temper burst when I was a student of anthropology at the university of Aarhus, Denmark in 1976.  We were in our twenties. He is 65 now and I am 62. He had a fellowship for one month in our institute to study Afghan ethnology. Once we argued about political issues and I found him very pro-Marxist and also at the same time pro-Pashtun. He lost his temper when debating the issue and attacked me by raising his voice but did not curse me. A week later, I was newly married, my wife said we better invite him to our place because we are the only Afghans in this city and he should not have a bad impression. I said that is fine but can you please also make some lamb-brain? We, Afghans love lamb brain, and she agreed. When Ghani came to our small student apartment, he exclaimed that I made some lamb-brain! I said yes, because you don't have a brain and that is why, he laughed and said “well, when you come to my home we will make you some lamb tongue because you are outspoken.” Later in life I learned that he dedicated his PhD dissertation to  the memory of Fouad Saade, a Lebanese Marxist.




Dr Farid Younos is Professor of Cultural Anthropology of the Middle East at California State University-East Bay, and host of ATN News, an Afghan American television entity in the United States.

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Your comments on this

Jan Agha Panshari 08.02.2015 - 12:38

 Dr.Younos salaam seems like your world view is not much bigger than your computer screen. The problem in Afghanistan comes from so called educated people. Normal Afghans no matter what tribe or ethnicity they come are OK with each other. As great Khorasni thinker you need to grow up and comeback to Afghanistan and do some real work for your people.

Ahmad01.09.2014 - 04:28

 Dr.Younos, I read your article about why Ashraf Ghani is losing the election in Afghanistan, it is very obvious that why such dilemma is in Afghanistan. I did not find anything new about it from your research, but at the paragraph 7th I thought that it is all personal issues between you and Ghani, you mentioned that Afghans are very kind and hospitable people, but when you invite someone and insult him under your own roof, with the food that your wife bothered herself to cook, do you think it is ok to insult your guest? is it part of our culture? of course not. By the way I am a 28 years old Afghan I should not have written this, I had respect for you before, but from now on there is no difference between you and all the people who create discrimination, I am sorry for our people that what does our phD holders or doctors get their degrees with these types of narrow minds, peroz bashe



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