Tag Archives: Karzai

Afghans Furious At US Air Strikes

There is little question the increasing confusion in Afghanistan concerning the correct military strategy to pursue has resulted in growing anger among the average people of that unfortunate land. President Hamid Karzai lashed out at the United States for the latest example of planes bombing suspected militant targets only to wind up killing innocent civilians. He charged at least 15 Afghan civilians died in an air strike, and emphasized such operations resulted in “strengthening the terrorists.” The Sunday attack came after a Saturday air strike the US claims killed 15 militants while the Afghans insist many civilians died. American military sources insist they have pictures which depict militants fighting, but refuse to release the photos for security reasons.

The basic problem with the Obama decision to dispatch 30,000 more troops and to continue the current bombing approach is the reality neither of these actions will result in ending the conflict. There is need to win the hearts of Afghan civilians and bombing from above is hardly the way to gain such results. Karzai is a corrupt leader, but air bombing is an unsuccessful approach to fighting a guerrilla war.

BYE, BYE, KARZAI?

In the old days of the Bush administration, it was a given that Afghan leader Hamid Karzai was the only one to be considered as the leader of Afghanistan, but President Obama is considering the possibility of identifying new leadership that will not be tainted by the corruption and incompetence that now prevails in that unfortunate land. A senior US analyst commented: “The Americans aren’t going to determined the outcome of the election, but they could suggest to people they put their differences aside and form a dream ticket” that would encompass individuals from the spectrum of Afghan politics. While in Afghanistan on his trip, Obama conferred with Governor Sherzai even before seeing Karzai.

American intelligence has already obtained information that Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali, is engaged in drug trafficking and corruption is very widespread within the country. It is time to identify new leadership which can unite the people and offer them a viable alternative to the Taliban. Many American experts are suggesting focusing on developing local leadership as was done in Iraq with the Sunni Awakening Councils.

Afghanistan Wants To Know US Strategy

It is now over seven years since American forces drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan and since that time, little, if anything, has been done to develop an effective army to defend the country. President Karzai is anxious to know about American strategic plans once an additional troops arrive in his country by this summer. He was told reinforcements would be sent to deal with regions lacking security, but it is doubtful if 30,000 or fifty thousand additional troops will actually be able to maintain control over areas in which they fight. It i one thing to defeat a Taliban group in battle, it is another to ensure the Taliban do not return to the area.

A major issue is the use of bombing operations which invariably result in the death of innocent civilians. Until Afghanistan has its own functional military force, there is little likelihood foreign troops will be able to handle the situation.

Afghanistan Demands End To Civilian Harassment

President Karzai is demanding an end to the bombing if his nation’s population by US and coalition forces in an effort to restore confidence in his government. He told the people of Afghanistan he had sent request to his allies regarding troop behavior in his nation. “Part of that list was they they shouldn’t on their own, enter the houses of our people and bombard our villages and detain our people.” The president has repeatedly urged his allies to avoid actions which backfire by persuading ordinary citizens to look more favorably on Taliban forces. His comments came on the same day, UN chief in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, called for Coalition forces to rethink their strategy of entering homes and bombing.

The behavior of Coalition and US forces in Afghanistan simply reflects an inability to learn from mistakes in Vietnam and Iraq the importance of winning over ordinary civilians if an insurgency is to be defeated. The use of military force in itself will not end the Taliban.

Karzai Blasts US And Coalition

President Karzai allowed his frustrations at the conduct of the war to explode in vigorous condemnation of the efforts by American and coalition forces to combat the Tabliban. “We haven’t accepted the international community so our lives could get worse,” he said, arguing his people could accept some difficulties in the war, but the style of fighting as conducted by the United States and NaTO, “can’t be the only way forever.” He insisted he was not asking for those fighting on his side to leave but he did want a date by which they had accomplished their goals. Karzai is particularly upset at the constant air strikes which all too often result in the death of innocent civilians.

All Secretary of State Rice could respond is that “I don’t think one sets timetables on when wars end.” Actually, there were timetables in operation during World War II which may help to account for being able to know if one was winning or losing. The lack of timetables means wars can go on forever.

Of course, it would help if Karzai actually ran an honest government that met the needs of people.

President George Bush and the Republican Party have spent the past seven years insisting they are tough and will never deal with terrorists until every single last one is dead. Of course, this approach has created the horror of 4,200 American deaths in Iraq and the current chaos which reigns in Afghanistan. The Bush administration now finds itself in the awkward position of watching its protege, President Karzai of Afghanistan, offer to hold peace talks with Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar. What does George Bush now do? Does he forbid the government of an independent nation to engage in peace talks? All his spokesperson could say is, “what we have seen from the Taleban, however, and from Mullah Omar–who we haven’t heard from n some time–is an unwillingness to renounced violence.” Of course, since no one has talked to him in seven years, it is difficult ascertaining his current views.

President Karzai said he would “go to any length” to protect the safety of Mullah Omar if he agreed to peace talks. Regardless of what the US desires, said Karzai, “I, as president of Afghanistan, will go to any length to provide protection.”

There is scant likelihood Mullah Omar is coming to any peace discussion. His forces continually are gaining in strength so why should he abandon what he believes is a strategy of peace knowing full well, Bush would never allow him to gain power?

Afghan President Discusses Taliban With UK’s PM

President Hamid Karzai is in London in order to review with Prime Minister Gordon Brown the progress being made in secret talks with members of the Taliban. Saudi Arabia King Abdullah has sponsored the discussions in an effort to end chaos which now reigns in Afghanistan. There are also reports Pakistan Prime Minister Zardari has played a role in trying to bring together the Taliban and more secular groups in Afghanistan. Karzai has held talks with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former mujahedin leader who once was supported by American intelligence when he was fighting against the Russians. After his fall out with Americans, Hekmatyar went to Iran where he has been directing attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Another effort to achieve peace is being made by Pakistani tribal elders who recently held a two day assembly in order to organize a group to meet with Taliban leaders. There is almost something comic about these meetings and changes. Seven years ago, Donald Rumsfeld announced to the world, the US had defeated the Taliban and they never would return. Today, the same people who were defeated are back in the saddle.

The unanswered question remains– will a compromise with the Taliban restore their fundamentalist anti-Western ideas to Afghanistan?

A Tale Of The Convoy That Got Hijacked

Seven long years ago, American forces swept through Afghanistan and send the Taliban government fleeing eastward. Normally, it might be assumed having evicted the enemy, the US would begin the task of training and equipping a new Afghanistan army to assume responsibility for peace in their nation. But, the United States is led by George Bush for whom simple solutions rarely enter his mind. Seven years later, the Taliban wander through Afghansitan and control large sections of the land. A convoy of supplies bound for American forces in Afghanistan was hijacked by the Taliban and will undoubtedly be used to equip Taliban forces. Sixty insurgents blocked roads and took the military vehicles–along with the drivers.

There are incidents such as these which raise questions as to the planning and implementation of effective means of combating the Taliban. At points, they appear to regard Afghanistan as their land and US and coalition forces as unwelcome guests. How can a convoy of military equipment be hijacked by sixty insurgents?

Afghanistan Witnesses Further Violence In Kabul

President Karzai is reaching out to Taliban militants in order to halt the destruction of his nation as forces of violence continue to exert their influence. The latest example which depicts the weakness of his government was a suicide bomber who blew himself up on the steps of the ministry for information. The Taliban claimed credit for the incident which witnessed a man opening fire at guards before decided to explode himself and kill and wound several people. The incident highlights confusion which is now present in Afghanistan. Karzai is using the good offices of the Saudi Arabian government in order to broker some sort of peace with Taliban leaders, but does the suicide attempt reflect a desire on the part of the Taliban to illustrate its power or does it reflect internal divisions within the movement?

Most probably, if history is any guide, the Taliban is split between those ready to accept some sort of peace provided they can secure power in Afghanistan and those who will not end fighting in Afghanistan until they have gained complete victory. The best bet for Karzai is quickly securing some sort of peace arrangement. The problem remains — what is he willing to surrender in order to gain peace? And, the other question is –will the American government allow him to negotiate peace?

President Karzai Admits Afghan Failure

President Hamid Karzai admitted this week his nation was on the verge of collapse and there was a possibility security had broken down. “Our roads are not safe, you can’t go from Kandahar to Herat. You can’t take the road from Kabul to Pakitia. When we came, life was good, but now it’s not. We are still a nation deeply in pain and misery.” There is something ironic in Karzai admitting seven years ago the situation was much better than the current crisis in his nation. Of course, seven years ago, the United States was not engaged in a war in Iraq and the Taliban had fled Afghanistan. Instead of dealing with the immediate problem of completely crushing the Taliban and initiating work projects to provide employment and raise standards of living, Bush diverted resources to Iraq and his failed policy in that nation.

President Karzai has to examine why his government has failed to contain the Taliban. He can not simply blame everything on others. His failure to create an effective, honest government lies at the heart of problems in Afghanistan. Additional soldiers will help, but Karzai failed to appoint honest men and women to office.