The Cable

Afghan President Ghani Pun-tificates on D.C. Voting Rights

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is surprisingly up to speed on D.C. voting rights.


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is apparently on top of the controversy surrounding D.C. voting rights.

In its quarterly report to Congress, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published a lengthy chat with Ghani. Conducted by Deborah Scroggins, SIGAR’s director of research and analysis, it touches on sacrifices made by U.S. troops, Afghan cooperation with international partners, and social issues. Ghani also spoke about the Afghan tax system, or lack thereof, by dragging Washington, D.C., into the conversation.

“We have representation without taxation, the opposite of D.C.’s slogan!” Ghani said. “Because again, you know, when assistance was generously provided, it weakened the obligation, and now we need to ensure that taxation and representation go together.” The assistance Ghani is referring to is the $110 billion appropriated by Congress for Afghanistan reconstruction.

The interview goes on to talk about women’s empowerment and the Afghan army. And Scroggins fulfills her role as a watchdog, asking tough questions about budget deficits and unchecked opium production.

But the highlight is Ghani’s D.C. comment. Who knew Ghani could wax on the D.C. voting rights movement, which advocates for residents of the U.S. capital city to have a vote in Congress? His comments on the need for Afghans getting taxed while getting repped suggests he’d side with those who want to end D.C.’s taxation without representation.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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