It’s not that I think Afghanistan won’t be attacked by the Taliban the minute the US troops leave – in all likelihood they will be. That’s why the US and the Loya Jirga (Afghanistan’s parliament) were trying to make a deal to allow a small contingent of US counterterrorism forces to stay.
The US was trying to negotiate a similar deal in Iraq, as you’ll recall, but the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, was insistent that it was time for US troops to leave completely. Now, as I observed a little while back, al-Maliki is asking the US to send counterterrorism forces because Iraq is now overrun with terrorists.
I pointed out then that demonising Americans and calling their stationing troops an occupation is not okay, particularly if you’re going to turn around two years later and call for those supposed occupiers to come back and defend you against terrorists.
Well, now look at Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai…insisting that he will personally veto this agreement worked out by US negotiators and the Loya Jirga, and presumably because he thinks the US “should bring” Afghanis peace first.
“If there is no peace, then this agreement will bring misfortune to Afghanistan,” he said. “Peace is our precondition. America should bring us peace and then we will sign it.”
This is a particularly loopy thing for Karzai to demand of the Americans, because it was Karzai himself who stormed away from the peace process when the US managed to get the Taliban to the table. Remember this, folks? http://www.salon.com/2013/06/19/karzai_suspends_peace_talks_with_taliban_ap/
The ironic thing is that in June, Karzai walked away from the peace talks not because the US had failed to “bring” peace to the Afghanis, but just the opposite – because the US was meddling in what he felt should be a purely Afghani process.
This is a clear example of why I have been arguing for some time now that the US should not have troops in Afghanistan, and the pullout should have been much earlier rather than on a “schedule” for 2014. Americans are risking the lives of the country’s soldiers to support the government of this guy.
Karzai’s administration is corrupt. It is quite likely he fixed the last presidential elections in Afghanistan. He walks away from peace talks and blames that on the US. Then when US drones target and kill a major Taliban leader, he turns around and blames the US for derailing the peace talks he walked away from. He complains the US dominates the peace process, but then complains that the US won’t “bring” Afghanistan peace, as if it were America’s sole responsibility to accomplish this and Afghanistan’s role only to wait until it is delivered to the door by overseas US Mail.
Get out. Get out and close the door. Nothing good will come with any continued association with the Karzai government. The first rule of Middle Eastern politics has been, for too long, to blame the Americans. Get out, so the Afghani people will finally locate some responsibility in Hamid Karzai’s office instead.
Also, resist any temptation to send those counterterrorism advisors in the future. If Afghanistan needs those (and I think it’s pretty obvious they will), point them towards UN peacekeeping forces. That’s what they’re for. While we’re at it, tell Nouri al-Maliki to use the blue-helmets as well. If they don’t want an occupation, they shouldn’t ask for one.