Next door to Kandahar is Helmand Province. As was the case in Kandahar, the governor of Helmand was personally appointed by Karzai. In 2006, however, the British got fed up with the corruption and forced the removal of Helmand Governor Sher Muhammad Akhunzada. Karzai was not amused but he did agree and the British were able to exercise control over the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Hillier, Harper, MacKay and Bernier are not even willing to launch an investigation into serious accusations of human rights violations. Wimps.
“There was one part of the country where we suffered after the arrival of the British forces,” Mr Karzai told a group of journalists at the Davos Economic Forum. “Before that we were fully in charge of Helmand. When our governor was there, we were fully in charge. They came and said, ‘Your governor is no good’. I said ‘All right, do we have a replacement for this governor; do you have enough forces?’. Both the American and the British forces guaranteed to me they knew what they were doing and I made the mistake of listening to them. And when they came in, the Taleban came.”
Asked if he was blaming British failure for the return of the Taleban, he added: “I just described the situation of mistakes we made. The mistake was that we removed a local arrangement without having a replacement. We removed the police force. That was not good. The security forces were not in sufficient numbers or information about the province. That is why the Taleban came in. It took us a year and a half to take back Musa Qala. This was not failure but a mistake.”
Britain had no immediate comment to the criticism. But senior military commanders and diplomats in Afghanistan have bemoaned privately the lack of co-operation with the Karzai administration and its controversial appointments of key provincial posts to the police and local government in Helmand. So far they have refrained from public criticism of President Karzai, who remains the West’s only credible figurehead.
The Afghan President lambasted Britain for encouraging him to remove Sher Muhammad Akhunzada as Helmand governor in 2006, a move which he claimed undermined the security situation. Mr Akhunzada was a fierce fighter against the Soviet occupation and is seen as staunchly anti-Taleban.
However, he was also accused of being a prominent figure in the drug trade and embroiled in numerous personal vendettas. He was removed after British officials told President Karzai that their troops would struggle to bring peace to Helmand if the governor remained in power, he has retained a strong background influence and is angling to be reinstated.
Mr Akhunzada told The Times this week: “I’m not against the British in Helmand but they should listen to President Karzai on matters of structuring local government.”
Now a senator, he and Mr Karzai are old friends, their relationship cemented during the years of fighting in the mujahideen against the Soviet occupation. The British, however, regard him as such a destabilising influence that Gordon Brown is reported to have tried to exact a promise from Mr Karzai to keep the former governor on the sidelines.
The warlord was too crooked to be a governor so Karzai appointed him to the Afghan Senate. That's something Canadian Prime Ministers can relate to.
"A figurehead, Hamid Karzai, was put in power. Real power, however, was held by the Communist-dominated Northern Alliance. Once the Northern Alliance took Kabul, the KhAD, rechristened NDS, was quickly re-established. The old Communist torturers and war criminals went back into business."Yup. That's the guy we're taking orders from. That's the guy who our troops are dying to keep in power.
(Eric Margolis. Source - Originally published May 6, 2006 in the Toronto Sun)
Human Rights Watch wants Karzai's Vice President Karim Khalili and army chief of staff Abdul Rashid Dostum to face trial for war crimes, and has listed Karzai's senior security adviser Mohammed Qasim Fahim, his Energy Minister Ismail Khan, and former President Burhanuddin Rabbani as among the "worst perpetrators" of war crimes / human rights abuses.And that ain't all...
"The US government and Mr. Karzai mostly rely on Northern Alliance criminal leaders who are as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban."
(Source: RAWA, an independent organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and for social justice)
"Instead of relying on those people who may have brought the criminal warlords to trial, Karzai appoints these criminals to higher posts. For instance, this year he appointed 13 former commanders with links to drugs smuggling, organized crime and illegal militias to senior positions in the police force."And...
"Izzatullah Wasifi, the government of Afghanistan's anti-corruption chief had a criminal record in the US and was arrested at Caesars Palace on July 15, 1987, for selling 650 grams (23 ounces) of heroin. Prosecutors said the drugs were worth $2 million on the street. Wasifi served three years and eight months in prison."
(Source: Associated Press, Mar.8, 2007)
"The list of those suspected of involvement in the drug trade reaches high into Karzai's government.
Nyamat [a former intelligence agent] and an Afghan trafficker singled out Gen. Mohammed Daoud, a former warlord who is Afghanistan's deputy interior minister in charge of the anti-drug effort.
The Kunduz trafficker said he wasn't worried. He counts Daoud as one of his connections. Late in the summer of 2003, he said, Daoud helped him retrieve heroin worth $200,000 that had been seized at the Salang Tunnel."
(Source: Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2005)
It's a dang good thing there's so much sand in them there Afghan deserts. Western politicians and military commanders have been able to make good use of that sand for burying their own heads.
Not in my name!
Change the climate in Parliament.