Taliban ‘joke’ joins online mockery over delayed Afghan cabinet

The failure of Afghanistan’s new leaders Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah to name a new cabinet has sparked a wave of online jokes. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

The failure of Afghanistan’s new leaders to name a new cabinet after more than three months has sparked a wave of online jokes, with even the Taliban insurgents joining in.

The flow of humor masks growing worries about the stability of President Ashraf Ghani’s unity government at a time when Afghanistan faces grave challenges, after the withdrawal of most foreign forces and with the Taliban having stepped up attacks.

After 100 days in office, Ghani and election rival-turned-partner Abdullah Abdullah have yet to agree on the make-up of their cabinet. Having missed several promised deadlines, they have become the subject of mocking on social media.

One joke on Twitter digitally altered a photo to show Ghani and Abdullah as old men with long white beards, with the tag “#Afghanistan ... in 2050: ‘In coming days we will announce our cabinet’.”

Neither the presidential palace nor Abdullah’s office was available for comment about the cabinet jokes.

A Facebook post portrays Afghanistan as a truck with two drivers, Ghani and Abdullah, steering in opposite directions.

Another cartoon read, “Appointment of the ministers ... was solved in a traditional Afghan way”, and showed the two leaders on horseback playing the Afghan game of buzkashi, fighting for control of cabinet seats instead of the usual goat’s head.

On Tuesday, the Taliban, whose media arm more typically talks about killing foreign and Afghan security forces, joined in, with spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeting: “Perhaps the cabinet is frozen!”

The tweet linked to an article written under Mujahid’s byline and saying Ghani and Abdullah “have no convincing excuse for the failure to name a cabinet - they might as well blame the freezing weather in Kabul.”

Online commentators seized on the fact that the insurgents joined in the mocking as a development especially embarrassing to the new government.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44