Intention to create a weakened Afghanistan, says former president Karzai

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said that he has suspected for “a long time” that the United States and some of its allies have tried to create a weakened Afghanistan with a splintered government

Jul 22, 2021
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Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai said that he has suspected for “a long time” that the United States and some of its allies have tried to create a weakened Afghanistan with a splintered government. The remark came during his address at an event of Russia’s Valdai International Discussion Club, which was held online on Tuesday. 

“I have been suspecting for a long time that there was an intention in Afghanistan by the United States and some of its allies to create a weakened Afghanistan where there is a government in name in Kabul, and then there are splinters of governments or authorities around the country,” Karzai was quoted as saying by Ariana news. 

Karzai, who was Afghanistan’s president for almost 14 years after the fall of the Taliban regime in November 2001, had grown skeptical of the US mission in the country by 2008. Soon after the Taliban started the full-fledged insurgency in Afghanistan by 2005, he repeatedly asked the US to pressure Pakistan, a US ally in its war on terror,  that had been providing safe sanctuaries to the Taliban leaders for staging attacks inside Afghanistan. 

When the US failed to rein in Pakistan, Karzai started suspecting that the US was deliberately undermining and weakening the Afghan government. He also blamed the US for not allowing him to make peace with the Taliban leaders in the initial years of the war, which ultimately forced the Taliban to resort to insurgency. 

It is worth recalling that the Taliban had made a proposal to lay down their arms to Karzai in 2002 in return for collective amnesty and assurance that their leaders and cadre would not be harrassed. Karzai was in favor of the proposal but Donald Rumsfeld, then US defense secretary, ruled it out, clubbing the Taliban with the al-Qaeda.   
 
Later, when the US started its counter-insurgency mission involving night raids and airstrikes in Afghan villages, Karzai criticized these actions, contending that it would turn the tide in favor of the Taliban and further fuel the insurgency. Karzai was categorical: either take the fight to sanctuaries inside Pakistan or make peace with the Taliban. 

The US' refusal to take on Pakistan for stoking the insurgency was seen by him as part of a long-term plan seeking to weaken the grip of the Afghan government. 

On Tuesday, he also said that even during his own time as president some proposals were made to him to allow the Taliban to rule one of two provinces to accommodate them. These proposals, he said, were outrightly rejected by his government. He was in favor of mainstreaming the Taliban but not by weakening the Afghan government. 

“This is something we have been working against,” he said.

Referring to US President Joe Biden’s recent remark where he said that it was highly unlikely that a single government would control the whole of Afghanistan, Karzai said, “Now we don’t see this as an accidental remark. I see this more as something that probably someone is thinking about doing.”

Last month, in a media interview, Karzai said the US had failed in its mission to end terrorism and extremism and accused the US of abandoning Afghanistan. (SAM)

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