After fleeing, Afghan ex-minister slams US for ‘irresponsible’ timing of pullout

OSLO, Norway — Nargis Nehan, a former member of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s cabinet who days ago fled Afghanistan for Norway, condemns the US handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“The US have been in Afghanistan for 20 years, staying one more year longer wouldn’t have made any difference for them, at least financially as well as politically,” Nehan tells AFP from Oslo, where she is staying in quarantine after arriving last week.

Nehan, who previously served as acting Minister of Mines and Petroleum, says that the withdrawal was “mismanaged” and “irresponsible,” and, with a delayed exit, evacuations could have been handled in an organized manner and enabled a real agreement between the government and the Taliban.

“President Joe Biden could have said that by end of September 2022 I want zero troops in Afghanistan. But until that time I want to make sure that we have a political settlement between the government and the Taliban and that we have also evacuated all our employees and local partners,” Nehan says.

The former minister, who explained that she resigned in October of 2019 over frustration that she lacked the political support to enact reforms in the sector, says that she fled to Norway after her driver was shot by unknown assailants the day the Taliban took over.

As her driver, who survived the attack, was not a high profile individual, Nehan and her family believed she had been the intended target.

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