Posts Tagged ‘President Hamid Karzai’

Will Obama Say Yes to Afghan Peace Talks?

May 8, 2010

Robert Naiman, The Huffington Post, May 7, 2010

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is coming to Washington next week to meet with President Obama. Afghan government officials have said that their top priority for these talks is to get President Obama to agree that the U.S. will fully back efforts of the Afghan government to reconcile with senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban insurgency in order to end the war.

On the merits, saying yes to the Afghan government’s request for US support for peace talks would seem like a no-brainer.

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America and the Dictators: From Ngo Dinh Diem to Hamid Karzai

April 19, 2010

By Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch.com, April 19, 2010

The crisis has come suddenly, almost without warning. At the far edge of American power in Asia, things are going from bad to much worse than anyone could have imagined. The insurgents are spreading fast across the countryside. Corruption is rampant. Local military forces, recipients of countless millions of dollars in U.S. aid, shirk combat and are despised by local villagers. American casualties are rising. Our soldiers seem to move in a fog through a hostile, unfamiliar terrain, with no idea of who is friend and who is foe.

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NY Times: Karzai’s Brother On C.I.A. Payroll

October 28, 2009

The Huffington Post, Oct 28, 2009

Afghanistan Karzai Brother

WASHINGTON � Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the president of Afghanistan, gets regular payments from the CIA and has for much of the past eight years, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The newspaper said that according to current and former American officials, the CIA pays Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the CIA’s direction in and around Kandahar.

The CIA’s ties to Karzai, who is a suspected player in the country’s illegal opium trade, have created deep divisions within the Obama administration, the Times said.

Allegations that Karzai is involved in the drug trade have circulated in Kabul for months. He denies them.

Critics say the ties with Karzai complicate the United States’ increasingly tense relationship with his older brother, President Hamid Karzai. The CIA’s practices also suggest that the United States is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.

Some American officials argue that the reliance on Ahmed Wali Karzai, a central figure in the south of the country where the Taliban is dominant, undermines the U.S. push to develop an effective central government that can maintain law and order and eventually allow the United States to withdraw.

“If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves,” Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the senior American military intelligence official in Afghanistan, was quoted by the Times in an article published on its Web site.

Ahmed Wali Karzai told the Times that he cooperates with American civilian and military officials but does not engage in the drug trade and does not receive payments from the CIA.

Karzai helps the CIA operate a paramilitary group, the Kandahar Strike Force, that is used for raids against suspected insurgents and terrorists, according to several American officials. Karzai also is paid for allowing the CIA and American Special Operations troops to rent a large compound outside the city, which also is the base of the Kandahar Strike Force, the Times said.

Karzai also helps the CIA communicate with and sometimes meet with Afghans loyal to the Taliban, the newspaper reported.

CIA spokesman George Little declined to comment on the report.

Fired UN envoy claims third of Hamid Karzai votes fraudulent

October 5, 2009

Jon Boone in Kabul and Ed Pilkington in New York

The Guardian/UK, Oct 4, 2009

Peter Galbraith, the top American UN diplomat in AfghanistanPeter Galbraith accused his former chief at the UN, Kai Eide, of deliberately playing down the level of cheating in the election. Photograph: Toby Talbot/Associated Press

A former senior United Nations diplomat in Kabul has made a scathing attack on the UN’s handling of Afghanistan‘s disputed elections, claiming that almost one in three of the votes cast for president Hamid Karzai were fraudulent.

Peter Galbraith, the former deputy head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, singled out his former chief, Kai Eide, for criticism, saying he had deliberately played down the level of cheating in an election where, in one region, “10 times as many votes were recorded as voters actually cast”.

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Obama Decides Karzai to Stay in Power Despite Fraud

September 29, 2009

White House Embraces Fraudulent Win, Calls for ‘Reconciliation’

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com,  September 28, 2009

Ending weeks of speculation regarding the massive fraud in Afghanistan’s August presidential election, the Obama Administration has formally decided that incumbent President Hamid Karzai will get a second five year term, no matter what the investigations determine.

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Escalation is futile in a war in which complexity defies might

September 25, 2009

GABRIEL KOLKO, National Times, Sep 23, 2009

The US scarcely knew what a complex disaster it was confronting when it went to war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. It will eventually – perhaps years from now – suffer the same fate as Alexander the Great, the British and the Soviet Union: defeat.

What is called ”Afghanistan” is really a collection of tribes and ethnic groups – Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks and more. There are seven major ethnic groups, each with its own language. There are 30 minor languages. Pashtuns are 42 per cent of the population and the Taliban come from them. Its borders are contested and highly porous, and al-Qaeda is most powerful in the Pashtun regions of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Afghanistan: Further evidence of massive electoral fraud

September 10, 2009
By James Cogan, wsws.org,  September  8, 2009

Amid widespread evidence of fraud, the Afghan presidential election has become a political debacle for the US-led occupation. While President Hamid Karzai appears on the brink of officially achieving an absolute majority, the final results could take weeks as electoral officials deal with hundreds of complaints. Even if Karzai is finally declared the winner, the Obama administration may decide to dispense with his administration.

On Sunday, the Karzai-appointed head of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), Daud Ali Najafi, announced that just over five million votes were cast, meaning that no more than 30 to 35 percent of eligible voters took part. Of the 3.69 million votes counted, Karzai had won 48.6 percent, with his closest rival, Abdullah Abdullah, trailing on 31.7 percent. If Karzai gains over 50 percent, no second-round run-off will take place.

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Evidence of fraud as Hamid Karzai passes threshold in Afghan poll

September 9, 2009
Afghan policemen carry a casualty from blast siteAfghan police help injured civilians after a suicide bomb attack in Kabul on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters

A commission backed by the UN yesterday declared it had “convincing evidence of fraud” in Afghanistan‘s elections and called for a recount of suspect ballots.

The announcement came as the count put President Hamid Karzai over the 50% threshold necessary to avoid a runoff and win re-election. With more than 90% of the votes counted, Karzai was ahead of his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, by 54% to 28%.

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AFGHANISTAN: Karzai and Warlords Mount Massive Vote Fraud Scheme

August 20, 2009

Analysis by Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service


WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (IPS) – Afghanistan’s presidential election has long been viewed by U.S. officials as a key to conferring legitimacy on the Afghan government, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his powerful warlord allies have planned to commit large-scale electoral fraud that could have the opposite effect.

Two U.S.-financed polls published during the past week showed support for Karzai falls well short of the 51 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff election. A poll by Glevum Associates showed Karzai at 36 percent, and a survey by the International Republican Institute had him at 44 percent of the vote.

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Notorious warlord returns to Afghanistan to help Karzai

August 17, 2009

By Jonathan S. Landay and Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers, Aug 16, 2009

KABUL — A notorious Afghan warlord accused of allowing the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners and then destroying the evidence returned to Afghanistan Sunday night as part of what appears to be a political deal brokered with President Hamid Karzai.

Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum arrived from Turkey just four days before the Afghan presidential elections, in which his support could be key to Karzai’s chances of securing more than 50 percent of the vote – the threshold for avoiding a second round of elections.

Karzai has come under criticism for consolidating his position by striking deals with warlords like Dostum and those suspected of connections to the country’s opium trade.

Dostum comes with considerable baggage. There have been repeated allegations that his men were responsible for the deaths of up to 2,000 alleged Taliban and al Qaida prisoners in late-2001, a time when Dostum worked closely with U.S. special forces and intelligence teams in northern Afghanistan.

A McClatchy investigation last year uncovered information suggesting that Dostum later directed the removal of the remains of those slain prisoners, destroying the evidence of the original crime.

President Barack Obama recently said that he’s asked his national security team to collect as many facts as possible about the incident to determine whether to launch a full investigation.

Seamak Herawi, a spokesman for Karzai, told reporters that there was no reason why Dostum could not return home.

“There is no legal obstacle for Gen. Dostum’s return to Afghanistan,” he said.

Hundreds of jubilant members of Dostum’s Jumbish Party converged on Kabul International Airport to greet Dostum, an Uzbek former communist general who repeatedly switched sides in the devastating civil war that erupted between Islamic guerrilla groups after the Soviet occupation.

His head clad in a silver turban and his shoulders draped with a chapan, a traditional long green coat, Dostum rode into the city followed by his loyalists and rifle-toting members of his private militia in a caravan of honking cars and buses.

More supporters were awaiting him at his massive red three-story mansion in Sherpur, a neighborhood filled with “poppy palaces” allegedly built with opium profits.

Dostum’s name has been in the news recently – first in a McClatchy report last December that made public the fact that a gravesite in a north Afghanistan desert known as Dasht-e Leili had been dug up, and then again this July in The New York Times, which reported on the lack of U.S. investigation into the original incident.

Locals interviewed by McClatchy last year said that it was common knowledge that Dostum’s men were responsible for having removed the bones of the dead men with bulldozers or similar equipment.

Satellite imagery obtained by Physicians for Human Rights indicates that the digging took place as early as 2006. There appears to have also been subsequent excavation last year – a McClatchy reporter saw three smaller ditches that were apparently dug between June and November.

The site is still not being guarded by either Western or Afghan forces, according to Nathaniel Raymond, the lead investigator on the Dasht-e Leili case for Physicians for Human Rights.

“Though Dostum has returned to Kabul, he still should not be allowed to return to a position of power in the Afghan government until a full, transparent investigation of the Dasht-e Leili incident is complete,” Raymond said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zemari Bashari said he could not discuss whether Dostum was under investigation for the alleged removal of the remains.

Dostum was put under house arrest in Afghanistan last year after he and his men were said to have dragged a rival leader out of his home, beaten him and his family and then held the man hostage. Then, after a meeting with Karzai in late-November, he left for Turkey.

Dostum at the time was stripped of his mostly honorary title of chief of staff to the commander in chief, but it was later reinstated.

Dostum has denied that the prisoners in 2001 died in large numbers, a position that he repeated in a statement last month, saying it was “confirmed by those who were responsible for accepting the surrender of these prisoners of war — including doctors and members of the military forces of the United States. In addition, it was reported to me that the U.S. Defense Department had also confirmed this.”

Some of the former prisoners, though, have said that they were stuffed into shipping containers in which hundreds of men suffocated to death or died from gunshots fired by Dostum’s men.

On Sunday, Dostum made a brief statement to thank Karzai for allowing him to return before retreating behind closed doors. The pair are expected to travel to Dostum’s hometown of Sheberghan, the capital of northern Jawzjan Province, on the final day of campaigning for Thursday’s presidential election.

Hundreds of his followers milled around the garden and glitzy reception hall of his mansion, whose inlaid floor of green, black and white stone, carved wooden columns and crystal chandeliers testified to Dostum’s immense wealth.

Haji Shah Mahmoud Nazari, a Jumbish candidate for the provincial council in northeastern Takhar Province, dismissed the allegations against Dostum as the “propaganda of Dostum’s enemies and the propaganda of the enemies of the Jumbish Party.”

“He came to participate in a very historical election which will determine the next five years of the country’s future,” he said. “He wants to be beside his people.”

Sayed Ahmad Sayed, a Jumbish official who is heading Karzai’s campaign in northern Fariab Province, said Dostum could deliver more than 1 million votes to the president’s re-election drive.


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