The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 06 October 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on October 6, 2014

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(06OCT14)

 

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

 

Source: Associated Press

 

New Afghanistan government

 

This week’s Snapshot Report focuses on the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani as the leader of Afghanistan.  After months of negotiations on a power sharing deal with his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, President Ghani was sworn in and signed security agreements with the US and NATO to keep foreign troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

 

 

News Summary of events during the week of 29SEP – 05OCT:

 

29SEP14: Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as Afghanistan’s new president and called for Taliban peace talks in first speech. (AFP)

30SEP14: President Ghani signed a previously stalled deal with the US and NATO to keep foreign forces in Afghanistan. (WSJ)

30SEP14: Afghans in the north threatened to rebel if President Ghani did not follow through on agreement of power sharing with Abdullah Abdullah. (REUT)

01OCT14: President Ghani ordered new investigations into the USD900 million fraud that wrecked the Kabul Bank in 2010. (AFP)

02OCT14: Pakistan welcomed Afghanistan signing security agreements with the US and NATO. (XIN)

03OCT14: British PM David Cameron arrived to pay a visit to the Afghan leader. (XIN)

05OCT14: The Afghan Attorney General’s office ordered NYT journalist Matthew Rosenberg to be allowed to return to the country after being expelled in August. (NYT)

 

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding the new Afghan government:

@raminanwariRamin Anwari, Former BBC Journalist. Human Rights activist. Fellow at @AsiaSociety. @AREUAfghanistan

@saadmohseni – Saad Mohseni, Director of the MOBY Group (a South/Central Asian, Middle Eastern media group)

@DanLamothe – Dan Lamothe, National security writer for @washingtonpost.

@KenRoth – Ken Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

@DTNAfghanistan – Comprehensive Daily News on Afghanistan Today

@OmSamad – Ex-diplomat, currently providing analysis & commentary, dealing with Afghanistan, South/Central Asia and a few other topics.

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the new Afghan government:

 

John Podesta, a Senior adviser to President Obama

“The most important thing is that President Ghani and Dr. Abdullah resolved their problems. Are there remaining tensions? Are there going to be remaining issues? One would be surprised if there weren’t. But I think they both have the commitment to work those things out, to build a structure where they could collaborate.”

–       Ghani, Abdullah sworn in as part of Afghanistan’s power-sharing arrangement, 29SEP14, Washington Post

 

Andrew Wilder, Afghanistan expert, United States Institute of Peace

“I believe Ghani and Abdullah would be able work together – and even complement one another. Both are highly qualified and capable individuals who, while they have their differences, I believe want the best for Afghanistan.”

–       Understanding Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer, 30SEP14, Deutsche Welle

 

Prof. Abdul Ghafoor Liwal, Expert on constitutional law and Director, Regional Studies Center, Kabul

“According to the Afghan constitution, the president can transfer some of his authorities to other government officials. In the case of the Afghan unity government, Ghani has delegated some powers to Abdullah.”

–       Understanding Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer, 30SEP14, Deutsche Welle

 

Said Massud, Economics lecturer, Kabul University

“If Ghani wants to govern well in the coming five years, he should make sure that the probe into Kabul Bank scandal succeeds. Otherwise, he will face huge problems as people will question his authority.”

–       Anti-corruption drive to boost Afghan president’s credibility, 03OCT14, Deutsche Welle

 

Michael Kugelman, South/Southeast Asia Affairs Expert, The Wilson Center

“The unity government’s legitimacy derives solely from the agreement these candidates signed—not from Afghanistan’s constitution or the Afghan people. There is no legal framework to fall back on. This means that Mr. Ghani could well interpret conditions to his advantage. If the two rivals—or their polarizing supporters who join the government—begin to spar, then Mr. Ghani could seek to expand his powers by exploiting the agreement’s stipulation that the CEO must answer to him.”

–       Four Questions for Afghanistan’s Future, 23SEP14, The Wilson Center

 

 

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the new Afghan government:

 

  1. New Afghan President Ghani calls for Taliban peace talks

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Byline: N/A
Date: 29 September 2014

KABUL, Sept 29, 2014 (AFP) – Ashraf Ghani, a one-time US-based academic, was sworn in as president of Afghanistan on Monday, using his inaugural speech to call for Taliban insurgents to join peace talks after 13 years of war.

“We ask opponents of the government, specially the Taliban and Hizb-e-Islami (another militant group), to enter political talks,” Ghani said after being sworn in.

 

Continue reading

 

  1. Northern Afghans threaten to rebel if power-sharing deal fails

 

Media: Reuters
Byline: Jessica Donati and Mirwais Harooni
Date: 30 September 2014

PANJSHIR Afghanistan (Reuters) – Afghans in a strategically important province north of the capital have threatened to rebel if the country’s new president does not respect an agreement to share power with their chosen leader, Abdullah Abdullah.

Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister, was sworn in as president on Monday, ending the stand-off with Abdullah, an ex-foreign minister, over who won the vote. Stability will now depend on how well the alliance holds.

The new president is an ethnic Pashtun with a support base in the east and south of the country, while Abdullah is backed by Tajiks, who make up most of the population in Panjshir and other northern areas.

Continue reading

 

  1. Ghani orders new probe into massive Afghan fraud scandal

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 01 October 2014

 

KABUL, Oct 01, 2014 (AFP) – Afghanistan’s new President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday ordered fresh investigations into a $900 million fraud that wrecked the country’s largest bank, underlining his determination to crack down on rampant corruption.

 

The collapse of Kabul Bank in 2010 exposed massive high-level corruption, with international donors outraged that aid money was disappearing into private pockets while Afghanistan remained wracked by poverty and violence.

 

The fraud saw fake companies given loans by the bank, and the cash spirited abroad — sometimes in airline food trays — in a sophisticated operation to buy homes in Britain, Dubai, Switzerland and the United States.

 

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  1. Pakistan welcomes U.S.-Afghan security pact

 

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 02 October 2014

 

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 2(Xinhua) — Pakistan on Thursday welcomed a controversial Afghan-U.S. security pact that allows nearly 12,000 American and NATO troops to stay beyond 2014.

 

The government of President Ashraf Ghani signed the Bilateral Security Agreement a day after took over as Afghan President this week.

 

“Pakistan supports every initiative aimed at bringing stability in our western neighbor because sustainable peace is in our own interest,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Tasnim Aslam said.

 

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  1. New Afghan leader thanks NATO troops for their sacrifice

 

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 03 October 2014

 

KABUL, Oct 03, 2014 (AFP) – Newly-inaugurated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday set a fresh tone in relations with NATO countries that have fought against Taliban insurgents, paying a fulsome tribute to foreign soldiers who died in battle.

 

Hamid Karzai, who left office on Monday, caused outrage in the United States , Britain and among other allies by saying the NATO mission in Afghanistan since 2001 caused huge suffering to Afghans and failed to bring security.

 

But Ghani, speaking alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron in Kabul, said the NATO soldiers in Afghanistan had made the world a safer place.

 

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