Afghanistan: In an interview with the BBC which aired on 7 October, President Karzai strongly criticized the NATO military campaign in Afghanistan. “On the security front, the entire NATO exercise was one that caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure.”
“I am not happy to say that there is partial security. That’s not what we are seeking. What we wanted was absolute security and a clear-cut war against terrorism.”
He also said the NATO leadership fought the wrong war. He said initially, relations with the US were good. “In those beginning years there was not much difference of opinion between us”.
“The worsening of relations began in 2005 where we saw the first incidents of civilian casualties, where we saw that the war on terror was not conducted where it should have been.”
Mr Karzai said the war should have been conducted “in the sanctuaries, in the training grounds beyond Afghanistan, rather than that which the US and NATO forces were conducting operations in Afghan villages, causing harm to Afghan people.”
Comment: Karzai has only six months left in his presidency. His desire to leave a memorable legacy is the impulse for statements critical of the US-led NATO effort. To establish any kind of credibility in a post-NATO Afghanistan, he must not appear in talks with the Taliban to be a US puppet. Karzai came from the Taliban and must deal with them after the last Western soldier leaves, just as the Taliban have always predicted.
One particularly frustrating point that he and his generals have made repeatedly is that the US never attacked the leadership of the Taliban in Quetta or Karachi, their training sites and especially their logistics and financial resources which have been located in Pakistan since 2001. No serious military effort could succeed for long in Afghanistan while the Taliban found safety, thrived and flourished openly in Pakistan.
No experts have explained why the Afghan Taliban were never so much as harassed in Pakistan. No investigative journalists have discovered what secret deals were made with the Musharraf regime or the Pakistani intelligence services to keep it that way for 12 years.
Phi Beta Iota: One could reasonably ask what use a Pashtu president of Afghanistan is, if he cannot bring to bear the moral and physical force of the Pashtu people across both borders, to bear. The USA made mistakes because it has an arrogant and ignorant government that refuses ethical evidence-based intelligence and instead makes stupid decision based on who pays to be heard. There are no winners to date. It’s time we tried intelligence with integrity.