Afghanistan’s Political Dilemma…Foreign-Cultivated, Co-opted Leadership
“Massoud worked for us, Massoud kept the Salang open for us…he would not allow anyone to attack us”…Mikhail Gorbachev, BBC World Pashto Service, February 15, 2004
Life is hard. Some things just defy all compassion, logic, reason and understanding, especially so for Afghans, a population constantly under siege in a war-torn country.
Since the advent of the Soviet/Afghan War (1979-1989), the political landscape of Afghanistan has been littered with the hopes, dreams and physical remains of those caught in the cross-fire between invading armies, proxy-militias, collaborators, warring factions and other political entities. Rising from the ashes which they helped to create, the Northern Alliance, with their troubled and sordid history have attempted to reinvent themselves. At a recent press-conference, presidential hopeful Dr. Abdullah Abdullah exclaimed that the “Government has done little to rebuild the economy, erect infrastructure and bring people out of enduring poverty during Karzai’s ten-years running the country.” But tortured logic and syntax by aspiring politicians with dubious, if not criminal credentials cannot alter the political reality and thereby regain the people’s confidence with empty sloganeering. The Northern Alliance or National Coalition have and remain the odds-on favorites of Russia, Iran, India and both the Bush and Obama Administrations. And in that role, they have overseen, aided and abetted the Soviet invasion and occupation as proxies, and presently serve as architects or mirror images of their Soviet incarnation for the American invasion and occupation. (1, 7, 8, 9) See: The Soldiers Story, Soviet Veterans Remember the Afghan War, Anna Heinamaa and Maija Leppanen, 1994, pp. 113-122.
It is as if one awoke from a bad dream or nightmare to find that the Northern Alliance, also known as, a.k.a. The National Coalition of Afghanistan is being groomed by the U.S. Administration to assume the mantle of power in Afghanistan. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 70 candidates with links to the Northern Alliance were on the 2009 presidential ballot. While election laws disallowed candidates with links to illegal armed groups, and the Karzai government had banned some 50 others that had been identified as members of illegal armed groups, many of the more powerful war lords simply bypassed this proscription by registering their militia as a private security company. Also, many of Karzai’s key allies are alleged to have committed widespread human rights violations and war crimes. Human Rights Watch has called for VP Karim Khalili and key ally, former Army Chief of Staff Abdul Rashid Dostum, to face a special court for alleged war crimes. Khalili is charged with the killing of thousands of innocent people. Karzai’s other Vice President, Mohammad Qasim Fahim and former Energy Minister Ismael Khan, have been named by human rights organizations as among the worst perpetrators. Marshall Fahim is accused of having served as a former communist secret police chief, murdering prisoners of war during the 1980s and participating in kidnappings and other crimes as well. (2)
The Marshall is also alleged to have ties to drug trafficking. As a critical ally of the U.S., Marshall Fahim worked closely with the CIA in the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan as he had with the Soviets during the Soviet/Afghan War, a pattern of foreign-collaboration that had been established by the late Shura-i-Nizar impresario, Ahmad Shah Massoud. (3, 7, 8, 9) See: Main Intelligence Directorate (MID) of the General Headquarters, USSR Armed Forces. Title: ‘The Lion of the Panjshir,’ Article no. 18, (No. 882/83-3-3-S-77, Fond 80, Perechen 14, Document 77), translation of excerpts by Elena Kretova Information Services, Moscow.
A majority of the Afghan people hate these powerbrokers, angered that they have evaded accountability for human rights abuses, Soviet collaboration, and regained power as proxies of the Soviets from 1979-1989, and presently the CIA from the 2001 U.S. invasion to the present. (3) See: Afghanistan, Political Frailty and External Interference, Dr. Nabi Misdaq, 2006, pp. 162, 203-213.
If the 2009 presidential election is an omen of future endeavors, than the 2014 election will be characterized by a lack of security, low voter turnout, and widespread ballot stuffing and other election fraud. It has been alleged that the CIA participated in ballot stuffing to secure a win for their man…Hamid Karzai. The Taliban called for a boycott of the 2009 contest describing it as a “program of the crusader” and “the American process.” (4)
When assessing a candidate’s qualifications for elected office, among the primary essentials are patriotism, a verifiable-absence of any record of the candidate acting in the commission of war crimes, a working knowledge of the cultural, social and economic needs of the people he or she purports to represent. Those from the Northern Alliance enmeshed in the 2014 election cycle therefore do not possess the necessary qualifications. While few would lament the passing of Hamid Karzai from the president’s foreign-supported mantle of power, fewer still can underwrite or vote for those candidates from the Northern Alliance, formerly known as the IOAP, Jamiat, Shura-i- Nizar, and presently, The National Coalition of Afghanistan.
The act of re-calibrating or re-naming a political entity is generally taken to hide past abuses of power, malfeasance, and or dereliction of duty from electoral scrutiny. Afghans cannot but recall that on 25 December 1999, President Burhanuddin Rabbani trekked to Moscow where in an act of genuflection to Russian President Vladimir Putin, traded away Afghanistan’s right to sue Russia for war reparations in exchange for arms with which to fight the Taliban. A verbatim copy of his groveling letter to the Russian President can be found on pages 150-151 of Afghanistan a Search for Truth, Bruce G. Richardson, 2009.
The crimes of former Deputy Defense Minister Abdul Rashid Dostum, another of the Northern Alliance luminaries, are legendary in scope. In 1997, according to a recent article in Dharb-i-Mu’men, Dostum is responsible for the massacre of 8,450 POWs at Balkh and Dasht-i-Laili in 1997. The prisoners were slaughtered under orders of Abdul Mailk, deputy to Dostum. Initially, the atrocity was treated as propaganda by the mainstream media and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights who have as yet to investigate the incident. In yet another atrocity, the bloody ethnic cleansing of Pashtuns by elements of the Northern Alliance and their foreign sponsors is also well-known and certifiably documented. (5, 9)
Isabelle Khan of UNCHR has called for war crimes tribunals to be established for Afghanistan. In predictable fashion, former Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has stated that any war crimes should be limited to the Taliban regime. “We should forget the past and move to the future” he said. President Obama has promised Physicians for Human Rights that he “would collect evidence of this atrocity and make a decision based on the findings.” This promise was made two years ago. As yet, the president has not undertaken the initiative to convene an investigation of his erstwhile allies in the war on terror…the Northern Alliance. In addition to alleged war crimes many members of the Northern Alliance have sequestered billions of illegal dollars acquired from various foreign sponsors during their tenure, most of which is invested in the UAE. (6)
Russian, Indian and Iranian support of the Northern Alliance is well documented. Within which compilation, it is reputed that Dr. Abdullah Abdullah has strong ties to Russia and India while others in the National Coalition harbor similar sympathies. Thus the question becomes, if history be our guide, will the budding candidates from the Northern Alliance, newly resuscitated as the National Coalition of Afghanistan, represent and pursue Afghanistan’s Russia’s, India or Iran’s interests? (7, 8, 9)With the history of the Jihad period recorded for posterity, and serving as a political template…the answer, while troubling is obvious. Were the National Coalition for Afghanistan to assume power in Afghanistan it would undoubtedly guarantee a continuation of the seemingly endless and ongoing cycle of foreign cultivation, patronage and violence… as they would most assuredly be rejected by the Afghan people. See: Plamya Afgana by Deputy Soviet Advisor to Dr. Najibullah, General A.A. Liakhovskii, 1999, and 2004, pp.485-486, 630-674, Russian to English translation for the Cold War in History Project, Washington, D.C. (CWIHP) by Gary Goldberg.
Bruce G. Richardson, 1/2013
(1) Afghanistan’s Troubling Political Landscape, ‘Asia Times’, B. Khan, 11/02/11, p.13A.
(2) Post- Taliban Afghanistan,’ Afghanistan, a Search for Truth’, Bruce G. Richardson, 2009, pp. 270-273.
(4) Afghanistan’s Troubling Political Landscape, ’Asia Times’, B. Khan, 11/02/11, p.13A.
(5) Post-Taliban Afghanistan, ‘Afghanistan, a Search for Truth’, Bruce G. Richardson, 2009, pp. 270-273.
(7) Interview: With Shahnawaz Tanai, Khalqi Defense Minister, 1988, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, November 12, 1997. Translation by Sayed Noorulhaq Husseini.
(8) Interview: With Ismael Khan, Sarpooza Prison, October 26, 1997.Translation by Sayed Noorulhaq Husseini. Ismael Khan signed a truce with Soviet generals to allow for safe passage for and withdrawal of Soviet troops.
(9) American Raj, Liberation or Domination, Resolving the Conflict between the West and the Muslim World, Eric S. Margolis, 2006, pp. 196, 199.
Afghanistan’s Political Dilemma…Foreign-Cultivated, Co-opted Leadership