Article added on December 6, 2009
On December 6, 2009 in a CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, the
Afghan President Karzai (*1957) gave his thoughts about the future strategy in
President Obama decided to send additional 30,000
As always a brilliant salesman - in fluent English - Hamid Karzai made
viewers almost forget that, since December 2004, he has headed a corrupt and
“re-elected” in a
fraudulent presidential election.
As the most important points of President Obama's surge strategy, Karzai
concentration on protecting the civil population, doubling the economic
assistance to Afghanistan and concentrating on the regional aspect of the
He welcomed the new strategy and promised that his country would do
everything it can to make it a success.
Amanpour asked Karzai what he thought about the fact that Obama, in his
new plan, concentrated on defeating
al-Qaida and preventing it from a comeback, whereas defeating the Taliban
was not mentioned as a strategic goal.
Karzai answered that those Taliban who are part of al-Qaida, of terrorist
networks, need to be defeated. But the thousands of Taliban, who are the
majority, who have no such ideological linkage, must be reintegrated in the
said that, for years, he had been working towards an understanding with the
Taliban. What he had lacked until now had been a clear understanding or
support from his partners for this strategy. With the new strategy by the
United States and the other Afghan allies, this has changed.
Karzai mentioned other elements that were needed to make the surge a
success, notably full (mutual) trust (between Afghanistan and Pakistan) and
cooperation with Pakistan as well as the support and the the inclusion in
this process of Saudi Arabia. In the larger picture, Karzai stressed the
importance of the support of China, Turkey and all Afghan neighbors as
essential for the success of the new Afghan strategy.
Amanpour mentioned that Mullah Omar had repeatedly said that he had no
intention to negotiate with the Karzai government. Mullah Omar is the leader
of the Afghan Taliban. Karzai stressed that he had repeatedly tried to
negotiate with him so that he would participate in the peace building and
reconstruction of Afghanistan. However, such a deal had to be backed by the
International Community because of the United Nations' sanctions on the
Taliban and other relevant issues. Karzai said that, as an Afghan, he wished
that Mullah Omar would negotiate with him provided that he renounced on
violence and the connection to al-Qaida, that those connections with the
terror networks were denounced and renounced, finally that the United States
and the other Allies backed the negotiations between the Afghan government
and Mullah Omar which, so far, is not the case.
Regarding the 18-month deadline for the exit of U.S. troops, Karzai argued
with objectives to be reached. Objective number one is to defeat terrorism
is the return of safety and peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the
end of terrorism in the West.
Towards those objectives, Karzai said, we need to train and equip the Afghan
military forces, to strengthen the Afghan government and to bring
Afghanistan back to a self-sufficient economy. Karzai's timeframe however
was rather five years than eighteen months, as he confirmed again to
Christiane Amanpour. His understanding was that the eighteen months deadline
was just the beginning of the withdrawal of U.S. troops, not the end of it.
In an case, Afghans would rather like to be sooner than later in charge of
their country again. The Taliban should take the new plan as an opportunity
to return to their homes.
Sheet music of the
Great American Songbook.