Nothing is going right for USA in final phase in Afghanistan


By Asif Haroon Raja

Washington and Kabul were marching in step till end 2009. As the final phase in Afghanistan drew nearer, the two fell out of steps and so far they have been unable to get back in steps. Major reason for this is Washington ’s unhappiness over Karzai’s performance and latter’s conflicting views on solving Afghan imbroglio. Obama’s straight talk with him advising him to improve and produce results caused heart burns to Karzai. He got miffed at the role of USA and UK in last presidential election and feels convinced that it had been purposely made controversial to weaken his position. He has become aggressive and has been off and on giving anti-US statements and even threatening to join the ranks of Taliban.

Karzai is not in favor of Kandahar operation and wants reconciliation with all without making a wedge between reconcilable and irreconcilable. In this respect he has been making repeated overtures to Pakistan which has been resented by several segments in Washington , India , Northern Alliance leaders and Israel . He suspects that rocket attack on the jirga he hosted at Kabul on 2 June was conducted either by intelligence chief Amrullah whom he subsequently sacked or Blackwater at the behest of USA . Sacking of Amrullah and interior minister by him was a major blow to USA in the given troubled times since the two were their loyalists. Seething with rage that he has been unseated at the behest of Pakistan , anti-Pakistan Amrullah organized an attack on an isolated post in Mohmand Agency held by paramilitary troops to cause embarrassment to Pakistan.

According to US Congressional subcommittee investigations led by John Tierney D-Mass, US military is paying millions of dollars to insurgents, Afghan warlords and corrupt government officials to ensure safe passage of supply of convoys. It is part of Pentagon’s $2.1 billion transport contract for food, water, fuel and ammunition to US troops serving at 200 forward bases. Reportedly Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors and then dishing out the booty to warlords and Taliban. Watan Risk Management Security firm under scrutiny contends it has to pay $1000 to $10000 in monthly bribes to every Afghan governor, police chief, local military unit whose territory is trespassed. Trucking companies maintain that for safe passage payments have to be made to local security firms with ties to Taliban, or warlords who control the roads. Such undesirable activities are undermining larger US objectives of curtailing corruption and strengthening effective governance in Afghanistan . Interestingly, in Pakistan instead of extorting money, militants torch supply convoys.

Another problem area is the flourishing drug trade which has doubled since 2005 and has helped finance insurgents and encouraged corruption. In Marjah , US troops stopped Afghan officials from destroying poppy fields. Read more of this post

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