(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 22, 2009
The suicide attack on an UN compound came soon after the announcement that there would be a second round of elections. The attack on the UN personnel has had serious political ramifications. With the morale of the UN shattered, the UN secretary general announced the withdrawal of two thirds of its personnel from the war torn country. The UN’s active involvement in the sham election process had made its personnel a target for the Taliban.
The second round was belatedly
called off after the
refusal of Karzai’s main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah to run. He said
second round would be as fraudulent as the first. The
According to international observers, very few Afghans had voted in the first round in August anyway. Karzai would have emerged as the eventual winner if the run-off had gone ahead. The incumbent president had stitched up a wide ranging coalition of warlords and power brokers which had delivered him the vote in bulk in the first round. The Taliban had dramatically stepped up its violence after the election commission had initially announced a run-off. Even more Afghans would have stayed at home if the voting would have gone ahead.
Obama administration is still debating whether to accede to the demands
There is no longer much talk
The election fiasco which played
out for more than two
months has left the incumbent president, Hamid Karzai more isolated and
foreign backers in a state of confusion. Key western leaders no longer
accord him the respect due for a head of state. President Barak Obama
congratulating Karzai on his re-election publicly upbraided him on the
corruption which characterised his earlier stint in office. Obama told
Stories about Karzai’s younger brother Ahmad Wali Karzai being on the CIA’s payroll and profiting from the drug trade, that were leaked by the US administration, figured prominently in the America media. The Obama administration wants Karzai to take action against prominent warlords like Rashid Dostum and Mohammed Fahim. The Uzbek and Tajik warlords are close political allies of the Afghan president. Both these personalities are expecting to inherit lucrative ministries not jail terms, in Karzai’s second term in office.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said that president Karzai must “actually arrest and prosecute” those who are corrupt. The British prime minster, Gordon Brown, told president Karzai as he began his second term, that British soldiers would no longer be asked to lay down their lives for a government steeped in corruption. Brown told the British media that the Karzai government had become a “byword for corruption”.
The Afghan government in the first week of November belatedly issued a statement rejecting the foreign criticism of Karzai saying that the criticisms “violated national sovereignty”.
REEKS OF HYPOCRISY
The sudden concern of western leaders about the Karzai government’s corruption and deals with warlords reeks of hypocrisy. The US and NATO forces operating in Pashtun areas have been depending on the help of warlords for some time now. Militias controlled by Afghan warlords have been providing protection for NATO convoys and forward US bases. Gen McChrystal had himself acknowledged that American and NATO ties with warlords were one of the reasons for the alienation of the populace from the occupation forces.
A Report published by the Centre of International Cooperation at the New York University (NYU) revealed that Gen Nazri Mahmed, a warlord in Badakshan province said to control “a significant portion of the province’s lucrative opium trade” is on the payroll of the German military contingent. The NYU report has claimed that the western governments are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on contracts with security providers, most of them warlords and human rights violators. The UN estimates that there are 120,000 armed men employed by around 5000 private militias. During the Bush presidency, the CIA had armed and financed many of the warlords like Fahim and Dostum, who had helped them during the 2001 invasion.
The Obama administration’s main
goal is to train an
effective Afghan fighting force that would eventually do most of the
Given the current state of the Afghan army, this goal will be difficult
achieve. An internal
President Obama is delaying his
decision to despatch
the additional troops urgently requested by the
Peter Galbraith, the UN’s deputy
Head of Mission in
American commentators and
scholars opposed to the war
have urged president Obama to stand up against the pressure being
the military, the right wing and the media in the