Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Afghanistan - the dry quagmire? 

Paddy may be well out of the Afghan mess… and it looks as if he was rejected because his proposed appointment was seen as a ‘façade’ for UK and US meddling in Afghan politics.

It seems that the UK and USA are trying to find a ‘worthy successor’ for President Karzai if Afghanistan, who’s term of office ends in 2009. This involves boosting the profiles of various ‘Northern Alliance’ regional leaders (sometimes known as local warlords) and carrying out clandestine negotiations with the Taliban. .

As the Asia Times commented (6 Feb 2008)

Karzai seems to have decided that he won't allow himself to be taken for granted any longer. A limit is certainly reached when a powerful donor country begins its own clandestine "war on terror" on Afghan soil directed against Afghan people without even informing him or anyone in his government - and Afghan intelligence operatives learn about it accidentally from the memory stick of a laptop. The sensational leak by Afghan intelligence about Britain's covert war in Afghanistan must be seen in perspective….
…..If the calculation of Western intelligence is to threaten Karzai by reviving the political profile of his detractors, that doesn't seem to work. Karzai is certainly not impressed. He is retaliating. Over last weekend, the intelligence apparatus in Kabul has almost dealt a fatal blow to Britain's reputation in the "war on terror". Such a
thing couldn't have happened without political clearance at the highest level in
Kabul. …(Karzai) then told the BBC that Paddy Ashdown couldn't become the UN's
super envoy to Afghanistan. Thereafter, Karzai went on to comment in his
interview with Die Welt, "I'm not sure sending more [NATO] forces is the
In yet another interview with CNN, Karzai pointed the finger at the
"misguided policy objectives" of certain countries and organizations, which he
refused to name, as contributing to the violence in Afghanistan. Talking to The
Washington Post, Karzai said, "It [war] will make a difference when the
Americans are clear and straightforward about this fight," adding that the US
should "mean what they say ... [and] do what they say".

The author of this Asia Times piece is a retired (30-year service) former Indian diplomat. M K Bhadrakumar

Seems to me there are some serious questions to be asked about UK involvement n Afghanistan, and some concrete reasons for other NATO States to baulk at sending more of their troops into active fighting zones – at least until we get some coherent explanations of what is what. If Paddy has picked up some background knowledge I trust he is in a position to brief our Parliamentary teams. We may have to review our support for the Afghan War.

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