Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Le Monde, Hamid Karzaï : «The United States behaves in Afghanistan like a colonial power» - In a interview with Le Monde, afghan president, Hamid Karzaï, blames the United States for acting like a "colonial power" in the way it "pressures" Kaboul to sign a security agreement. This accord is meant to provide military assistance to Afghanistan after 2014. M. Karzaï says he is not ready to sign it unless certains conditions are met.-- My position has not changed for the past 8 years : the war on terror can't be fought and must not be fought in Afghan villages, in Afghan homes. If there is a war on terror, it has to be taken to the terrorist sanctuaries, where they are trained and nurtured. -- This has been my constant position and the main source of tension between myself and the United States. There are also other issues, but as far as I'm concerned, Afghan civilian casualties are the main problem. --- There is also a lack of visible and genuine effort on behalf of the USA to help us with the peace process. Neither myself nor the Afghan people are opposed to having a good relationship with the USA or Nato. The Afghan people approved the BSA at the recent loya jirga [Assembly of personalities, on November 24th ]. I'm in favour of the BSA. But I want this agreement to bring peace to Afghanistan and to put an end to attacks on Afghan homes. And the Afghan people must notice that these attacks have stopped. --- I had a long conversation with Mr Dobbins, whom I've known for ten years. He said that without the BSA, there will be no peace. -- His remarks can be interpreted in several ways. In a positive way: once you sign the BSA, there will be peace. If they can reassure us, provide the trust we need, this is a good thing. You can also interpret his comments in a different way : “ If you don't sign the BSA, we will cause you trouble and provoke disturbances in the country”. -- Given my experience and the information I have, I believe the USA can considerably help launch the peace process. When I was in Washington one year ago to negotiate the terms of a peace process with the US, I realised the Americans were speaking on behalf of the Taliban. -- Indeed, these secret contacts exist. But when I say the Americans can help with the peace process, it's because they have many other connections. They are friendly with Pakistan and Pakistan is definitely in contact with the Taliban. The USA has the ability, through Pakistan and directly as well, to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. --- Attacking Afghan homes is an act of aggression. Launching a psychological war on Afghan people is an act of aggression. -- A psychological war is a war against our economy, a war that encourages companies to leave Afghanistan, that encourages money to leave Afghanistan, that frightens Afghan's of the consequences of an American departure, is all this not psychological war ? -- I'm grateful, the Afghan people are grateful, for the assistance that has been given to Afghanistan. And we would like to repeat our gratitude. But when and where the USA has behaved against our interests - and in spite of our repeated warnings -, it's my job to speak out, to tell the truth. --- Why should the Afghan people pay the price of a war on terrorism ? Why would you attack an Afghan home, in the pursuit of a so-called taleb, of which there are many thousands in Afghanistan, and bring death and suffering to children and women? Would the USA launch drone attacks against homes in America in pursuit of a killer, a terrorist ? No. Why should the Americans do it in Afghanistan ? Do they feel an Afghan life is worth less than an American life ? I expect the USA to have an equal respect for an Afghan child as for an American child. We are not less worthy. --- Absolutely. They threaten us by saying “We will no longer pay your salaries, we will drive you into a civil war”. These are threats. If you want to be our partner, we must be friends. Respect Afghan homes, don't kill their children and be a partner. So bluff or no bluff, we want respect for our commitment to the safety of Afghan lives and to peace in Afghanistan. -- We will not cease to be a nation if that were to happen. It will be harsher for us, it will be more difficult, but we will continue to live our lives, we will continue to be a nation and a state. If the USA is here, if Nato is here, with us, with their resources, hopefully properly spent and not wasted, or looted, if our homes are respected, if peace is maintained, the American presence is good for Afghanistan, and we value it. But if their presence comes at the price of destroying Afghan homes, at the price of the security and the dignity of Afghans, if their presence here means continued war, and bombs and killings, then it's not worth it. --- There is corruption in Afghanistan, no doubt. There is corruption within the Afghan system, no doubt. There is corruption also within the international community, especially regarding American contracts and the way those contracts are implemented. For example, the private security firms that the Americans have employed in Afghanistan were one of the biggest sources of corruption, and lawlessness, and insecurity, and – worst of all – they were also responsible for the creation of a parallel structure to the afghan security forces. They have effectively created a state within a state. And a corrupt one. --- I was approached by some countries and also by people acting on behalf of the Taliban, who told me that if the Taliban were given a place in Afghanistan, if they were allowed to officially settle there and run their administrations, that would then lead to a peace process. I saw that as a dangerous path to the creation of two states within one country. -- I called some Taliban personalities, active in the movement, as well as those who have connexions to them, in order to enquire about this proposal. They said: “Yes, they were also approached and offered places in Afghanistan”. But they refused this offer. And I saw that the movement that lead to the opening of a Taliban office in Doha was related to that process. And the way it was announced proved our point. The manner in which certain other activities were conducted in the name of the peace process also indicated that certain forces in the West didn't want talks between the High Peace Council (HPC) and the Taliban but talks between the Taliban and other ethnic groups in Afghanistan. -- They tried to ethnicize the conflict in arranged talks between warlords and ethnic groups. This has been proved. But this initiative failed because the Afghan people reacted strongly. Whatever the plan was, we know that the West, through some foundations and with the help of certain members of the US Congress, tried to force federalism in Afghanistan. We are convinced that a deliberate effort was made to weaken Afghanistan and to turn it into fiefdoms. To have a weak central government. And the reason why the Americans and some European countries tried to undermine the presidential elections in 2009 was also to have a weakened government with less legitimacy. - More, Frédéric Bobin, Le Monde - at: http://www.lemonde.fr/asie-pacifique/article/2013/12/10/hamid-karzai-the-united-states-behaves-in-afghanistan-like-a-colonial-power_3528719_3216.html


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