Khalilzad and the Gangs of Afghanistan
by Bahlol Lohdi
In an article last year, The Economist wondered how an inept individual like Hamid Karzai had managed to obtain the post of president of Afghanistan. The answer is found in the development of the relationship between Zalmay Khalilzad and Hamid Karzai.Too bad Canada didn't have the "understandable reluctance" to pour lives and money into propping up this corrupt regime.
...The period between the signing of the Bonn Accord and the installation of a transitional government in Kabul should have been used to effect a similar process, distancing the Afghan mujahedeen warlords and their criminal gangs from the levers of power.
...Unfortunately, the various loya jirgas, or "grand assemblies," attended and choreographed by Khalilzad as George Bush's special representative, instead of bringing forth the required apolitical, technocratic regime in order to begin the country's physical and social reconstruction, only served to entrench the status quo set in Bonn.
...The Afghan government is now widely described as being made up of various competing mafia groups.
...The relationship between Khalilzad, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul, and Karzai, the Afghan president, was described in graphic and cringe-making detail in a New Yorker piece. And though it accurately portrayed the Afghan "leader" as a servile and ridiculous moron whose every action was being choreographed by the American plenipotentiary, it was a gratuitous insult to Afghan national pride.
...But with the British military failure in Helmand, and an understandable reluctance by many NATO allies to expend blood and treasure to ensure the survival of a kleptocratic regime, Karzai's mantle of power began to look increasingly threadbare.So, our soldiers are still fighting "Taliban", killing "Taliban", and getting killed, while our glorious leaders have known for a long time that it was a waste of time.
...a giant step forward was taken when it was admitted that there is no military solution to the Afghan problem. The British trumpeting of their preparations to "destroy the Taliban," thus "securing the back end of the country" and reordering things in Kabul so that it would "cut the mustard," and their subsequent rude awakening from such neo-imperial dreams, at least served this useful purpose.Now, could we stop with the "punching above our weight" crapola from the Harper crowd?
..A final assumption that must be discarded, before moving on to consider the factors essential for a viable political solution, is the shibboleth that conflates NATO's future survival with that of its success or failure in Afghanistan. From the shrill and persistent vocalization of this meme, one would think that the NATO acronym stands for North Afghanistan Treaty Organization!I wondered about that, too. Karzai and his pontificating about how thankful he was that Canadians were dying to keep him and the rest in power. I couldn't believe my ears.
Time to go, as quickly as possible.
...Unfortunately, the presence of Western forces on Afghan soil has become part of the Afghan problem and therefore can no longer be considered part of any future solution. Despite the ridiculous claims of a deluded Afghan ex-minister while in Canada, the Afghan civilian population neither appreciates nor forgives being bombarded, even by mistakenly dropped "friendly bombs."I'm not sure who he's speaking about here - perhaps Malalai Joya. I don't remember her saying the Afghan people were happy about being blown up, but maybe I missed something.