06.12.2013 Author: Valery Kulikov

The struggle for Afghanistan continues

afghan-war-isaf-patrolThe results of discussion of the draft of the Bilateral Security Agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan, held by Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the meeting of Afghan elders (Loya Jirga) evidently did not satisfy the White House. Just like Washington hawks cannot agree to uncertain prospects for the solution of this issue, depending on the future alignment of political forces in the country after the presidential elections in Afghanistan in spring of 2014.

This is quite understandable, because the question is not just about the humanitarian approach of the U.S. to Afghanistan destroyed by the military aggression of the coalition forces, nor is it about the need to corrected multiple failures of Washington’s policy made during the reconstruction of the country after the end of active hostilities there. This was pointed out by Stuart Bowen, general inspector of the U.S. Government for Iraq Reconstruction, in August of this year.

Official Washington is simply not going to give up its keys (in the form of extending the presence of U.S. troops in the country) from the strategically important region of the world’s energy resources and transport routes that can be used to control not only Central Asia, the oil-rich Caspian Basin, Russia, Iran, but also China.

That is why on November 23, the White House sent US presidential national security adviser Susan Rice to Kabul, under the cover of secrecy, to “clean brains” in Kabul and to give Afghan leadership instructions in what way the Bilateral Security Agreements must be resolved, and not for the benefit of Afghan people, but for the benefit of the U.S. – how could it be otherwise? They mean to say that Washington does not need Afghanistan, but Kabul needs the U.S. drones so that they can continue killing innocent civilians, and at the same time, control the opium poppy plantations and the entire Afghan narcotics industry. A sector, which, after all, needs to make deliveries to Europe and America, under the protection of virtually limitless resources of the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence.

Moreover, a meeting between Susan Rice with President Hamid Karzai, with the participation of U.S. Ambassador in Kabul James B. Cunningham was held on November 24. This meeting lasted for several hours and was disastrous for the White House, which it was forced to admit subsequently by publishing a special message – and how could it be otherwise? After all, Washington has forgotten the acceptable forms of negotiation, seeing only vassals and faceless performers of its imperial will in its interlocutors, who are ready to sign any agreement at gunpoint.

Thus, it happened again. Susan Rice, not doubting the correctness of her position, presented a tough ultimatum to Karzai: either he signs this Bilateral Agreement, or the country will be left without the promised annual financial assistance amounting to $4 billion from the United States for training and arming the Afghan army, as well as without American soldiers who are “loved by the Afghan population”. At that, Ms. Rice repeated categorically several times that the refusal to sign the agreement immediately would “prevent NATO and other countries from providing the promised help, left no choice to the U.S. and would force it to start planning of the complete withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014”.

It is not surprising that Karzai put forward new conditions at the meeting with Ms. Rice, saying that he was ready to sign the contract only after the presidential elections in Afghanistan in April 2014. In addition, the Afghan president urged the United States to immediately release 17 Afghans imprisoned in the Guantanamo Base, to refrain from counterterrorism operations that were not coordinated with Kabul, and to promise not to interfere in the future presidential elections. The latter condition put forward by Karzai is due to the fact that in 2009 the U.S. officials accused the Afghan government of falsifying the vote and forced officials to agree to another round. However, Karzai warned that the list of requirements could include a number of other recommendations of the Loya Jirga (there are 31 of them), including a ban on Christian religious ceremonies at American bases and providing Afghan observers with the right to attend proceedings of military tribunals.

Despite a statement about the preservation of a “polite and diplomatic” atmosphere at the meeting by the Afghan side, the representative of Afghan President Aimal Faizi noted that Karzai evidently became angry over the objections of the American ambassador in respect of the “ineligibility of the demand of the Loya Jirga to release Afghan prisoners in Guantanamo Base”.

The failure of the negotiations did not discourage Kabul. The very next day after the departure of American delegation, Karzai said that his conditions would be taken to the head of the White House and Susan Rice would soon return to Afghanistan to continue the talks.

However, Washington has quite a different opinion and is not going to renew the negotiation process with Afghan president for a while yet, preferring to apply waiting tactics until Karzai changes his position. They understands that Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the agreement now and engaging the Loya Jirga in solving this issue, is due to the intention of the President of Afghanistan to obtain more concessions from Washington, and for ensuring his support by the Afghan people. In other words, he wants to achieve a better personal support and more money.

At the same time, we should not forget that, in refraining from direct military intervention in Syria under the influence of the international community and agreeing to a partial settlement of Iranian nuclear programme, Washington is not going to abandon its attempts to gain strategic military dominance in the Middle East and Asia by withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Even though Obama promised that “all U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by December 31, 2014” during his campaign in 2012.

The White House plans to continue using its air force and U.S. bases in Afghanistan, to continue supporting its puppets in the region, to carry out its secret operations through “advisors” and “trainers” of the Pentagon and the CIA. This cannot be stopped by either public-opinion polls in the U.S., where up to three quarters of the population is against continuing the military intervention in Afghanistan, or by the fact that the presence of the U.S. troops can no longer be explained by the need to fight al-Qaeda, as it was in 2001, because this terrorist organization has greatly reduced its presence in the country, especially after its leader Osama bin Laden was killed.

All this means that Washington will persist in its struggle for long-suffering Afghanistan.

Valery Kulikov, political analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.