Afghanistan risks political breakdown, warns US spymaster
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Eroding political cohesion, assertions of authority by local powerbrokers, recurring financial shortfalls and sustained attacks threaten Afghanistan with a political breakdown, the US spymaster has warned.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers on Tuesday: “Afghanistan is at serious risk of a political breakdown during 2016, occasioned by mounting political, economic and security challenges…”
He also referred to other debilitating factors like and sustained countrywide Taliban attacks. On worldwide threats, Clappers informed the Congress the Afghan militants were not interested in peace talks.
“The Taliban position has consistently been not to do that, not to negotiate. The first precondition they always ascribe is the removal of foreign forces. And I don't see them changing that position,” he remarked.
The spymaster noted the Taliban had largely coalesced and were relatively cohesive under the leadership of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, despite some early opposition to his election.
The Taliban’s two-week seizure of the provincial capital of Kunduz provided an important boost to Mansoor’s leadership, he believed, saying the rebels would continue to test the overstretched Afghan forces faced with problematic logistics, low morale and weak leadership, Clapper commented.
In his testimony, Clapper said political cohesion would remain a challenge for Kabul as the unity government would confront more divisive issues later in 2016.
He cited implementation of election reforms, parliamentary elections and a potential change by a Loya Jirga that might fundamentally alter Afghanistan’s constitutional order as main challenges.
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