Afghan Leaders Express Concern Over ‘Threats’ By ‘Cell’ Of Officials Close To Ghani

A group of Afghan leaders and activists have written a letter to President Ashraf Ghani claiming that a group close to him is subjugating political dissent and criticism.

The letter is signed by former intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil, former Presidential chief of staff Abdul Karim Khurram, director of Pajhwok Afghan News Danish Karokhel and former finance minister Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, to name a few.

The same group had also met Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, and former president Hamid Karzai, to voice their concerns.

“Some very high ranking senior officials close to you have formed a cell that include up to your vice president and deputy of NDS [National Directorate of Security] for the purpose of subjugating criticism and political opposition through incentives and threats,” the letter claims.

The “Cell” is also accused of spreading “an environment of fear and terror among government critics and political oppositions.”

The authors of the letter are those individuals who received death threats in what they called a “fake letter” which went viral on social media for being from the Taliban.

However, they claim that the “Taliban” list was manufactured and circulated by the “circle” close to Ghani and they have credible information they are willing to share.

“We take this threat seriously,” they said, referring to target killings and “mysterious assassinations” of prominent peace activists and critics of the government’s policies, particularly on peace.

The writers said investigations into these incidents had “quietly and perhaps deliberately” been silenced, with no outcome.

They asked for a face-to-face meeting with Ghani and said they would be share relevant information on his subordinates.

“We, therefore, ask you as the President and as someone to whom these individuals are not only close but also subordinates to take our concern.”

The letter writers urged Ghani that the responsibility for any act of assassination and state terror carried out by state institutions or officials, “falls on your shoulders.”

Asking for a non-government, credible, independent agency to look into all targeted political assassinations and attempts over the past year, the leaders asked for the results to be made public.

“We also demand that high ranking officials who are credibly suspected of being involved in target assassinations of critics and political opponents, be removed from their positions and put under credible investigations.”

They again warned that if steps are not taken and any of the letter-writers are harmed, then “the government will be deemed responsible.”

Then ended by saying that if the letter was not taken seriously by the government, then they would reach out to the larger public and relevant international organisations.

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