- Jan 20 2017
Need new US policy from Trump on Afghanistan, says former Afghanistan President
With Donald Trump assuming power in the US, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has suggested that the new President and his team should take a deep look at the Afghan policy and correct the mistakes committed during the past fifteen years.
Mr Karzai said: “Obviously some things have gone wrong during this period. That is why we have not been able to defeat Taliban and other extremist forces despite our best efforts which yielded good results initially.”
In conversation with Minister of State Mr. M.J. Akbar as part of the second edition of the Raisina Dialogue, organised by Observer Research Foundation in association with the Ministry of External Affairs, Mr. Karzai suggested that US, along with Russia, China and India, should sit together and work out an effectively new policy.
Mr. Karzai said that he believes the new President Trump’s willingness to cooperate with Russia to fight extremists and terrorists would help fight terror more effectively in the region.
He said US’ ally Pakistan was itself responsible for the failure of the US’ Afghan policy, as it, through the ISI, encouraged and assisted regrouping of Taliban activists who had gone back and settled in villages after losing power. He said that it used religion to motivate the Taliban activists and supporters, as it had been doing in India and other neighbouring countries.
Mr. Karzai regretted that despite informing Washington about these activities of Pakistan, the US did not deter it from these activities and continued the aid and grants. If the US had put stringent conditions for providing aid, it would have deterred the Pakistan leadership and army from assisting the Taliban, he noted.
Asked by Mr. Akbar whether he believes Trump is going to be different from the Bush and Obama administrations, Mr. Karzai said, “there needs to be change in the US policy, if it needs to succeed. US needs to change.”
“Fundamental change in America is required,” Mr. Karzai said, adding he was not against the BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement) with the US, but had only demanded that some conditions should be added to it.
Mr. Karzai asserted that the US’ Afghan policy will not succeed if it continued the same Pakistan policy. Changing Pakistan policy is important for the US to see its Afghan policy succeed. He said that Trump’s expected good relations with Russian President Putin would help the region a lot. He has no doubt that Russia — “a tremendous asset” — which can play “a very significant role” — has to be taken on board to deal with the terror menace in the region, especially Afghanistan.
He Karzai criticised some countries’ use of terrorists against terrorists, saying this is out of mere desperation and frustration. He said it is like medicine for cancer from different pharmaceutical companies.
Mr. Akbar said that India and Afghanistan are on the same page as both are against dividing terrorists as good and bad. He said the Indian government is very clear that terrorists are terrorists and they need to be tackled effectively.
Earlier at the dialogue, Amrullah Saleh, former Head of the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan, pointed out that “the same snakes (terrorists) is biting all” — Afghanistan, India and other countries.
Talking at the panel on: Terror Inc – Combating State and non-State Actors, Mr. Saleh said: The status quo (policy) is not good” — and the Trump administration should have a hard look at the Afghanistan policy, critically assessing aid to the Pakistan military.