President Ghani calls for Afghans to remain in country

Kabul, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani has taken a tough and somewhat unexpectedly blunt stance on the tens of thousands of his citizens who are fleeing the country to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

“I have no sympathy,” the Afghan leader told me in his palace in Kabul. He is calling on his countrymen to remain in the war-ravaged nation and join in the effort to rebuild it.

But do his words carry the weight they should, in a country that is increasingly feeling frustrated with the political elite, and a sense of hopelessness about their future?

Convincing people to stay feels like an impossible task for what is perhaps one of the toughest jobs in the world, being Afghanistan’s president. Ashraf Ghani was sworn in in September 2014 after controversial elections.

This led to the formation of a national unity government with his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, appointed as chief executive officer. Since then, Mr Ghani has had to deal with a shrinking economy, high unemployment, a perilous security situation thanks to a resurgent Taliban and an ineffective government, further weakened by his troubled partnership with Dr Abdullah.

 It is no wonder, then, that Afghans make up the second largest group, after Syrians, to flee to Europe. In the past year alone, 180,000 nationals have fled instability and economic hardship at home.

But who should take responsibility for the tens of thousands of Afghans who have turned up on European shores? In a wide-ranging interview, Ashraf Ghani said that people shouldn’t take the risky journey in the first place.

Source- BBC Asia


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