General Habibullah Ahmadzai, a former advisor to President Ghani, apologized for his recent comments on alleged sexual favors in return for key posts in a number of government institutions.
“I have never accused the president and the first lady,” Ahmadzai said at a press conference at the Presidential Palace on Monday. “There are faithful women working within and outside the government… I apologize to the honorable president and the first lady.”
However, Ahmadzai reiterated that certain groups within the government have continued with “sexual favors from women” in return for key posts.
The issue continued to trigger more allegations against government institutions by a number of former officials and women’s rights activists.
A woman politician who ran for last year’s parliamentary elections, Hamida Wardak, claimed that she has credible evidence which proves that some former members of the election commission had “illegitimate” demands from her in return for her success in the polls.
“For instance, they offer help in the elections while they never trust a woman, but the women are compelled to trust them,” she said.
Wardak explained that in some cases, women are asked to meet in specific addresses while they send a car to pick her up.
Legal experts said offering an apology to such claims will not have any impact on the case.
“The Attorney General’s Office should continue its work on the case in line with provisions of the law,” a legal expert Abdul Subhan Misbah said.
Meanwhile, a presidential candidate, Mohammad Shahab Hakimi, claimed that Ahmadzai has been facing mounting pressure from the government and that he was forced to the apology.
“He was asked to offer an apology to President Ashraf Ghani and his wife,” Hakimi said. “The rest of the issues will be followed by the [government]. It means the case which was submitted to the Attorney General’s Office against him [Ahmadzai], they will reclaim it.”
This comes two days after a senior official of the United Nations called for an investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse of women at the Presidential Palace.