Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Al Santoli's Views on Afghanistan

The latest Asia America Initiative newsletter reports, “Afghanistan, the center of gravity in the post 9/11 war on terrorism is unraveling.” According to the piece, “since March 2006, Afghanistan has suffered the most devastating wave of organized violence since ‘victory’ was declared by the west nearly five years ago.” The piece also states that “the unraveling of Afghanistan is a result of arrogant U.S. policy makers’ dismissal of history and culture and overconfidence that Afghan tribal leaders could be threatened or bribed into submission.”

According to this piece:

“Despite billions of dollars of promised international assistance and the presence of 23,000 U.S. military forces and a Western-installed government entering its fourth year, the Taliban are returning from their mountain sanctuaries in Pakistan with a disciplined and coordinated offensive capability.” As a result, this has “hurt the American image among Afghans and has created increased political pressure on the central government.”

“The failure of the central government began at the June 2002 loya jirga tribal leader’s council to choose the new leader of Afghanistan. King Zahir Shah actually had a majority support. But the night before the vote, prominent U.S. and United Nations officials postponed the voting session and manipulated the process to assure that their favorite, Hamid Karzai, would be the winner.” This caused a loss of “credibility among all Afghan tribes” towards the U.S.

“In order to win the ‘war on terror’ or ‘clash of civilizations,’ international policy makers must acquire a respect for the history and the cultures of the people in the front-line countries and states. Peace can only be sustained through mutual respect and built with consistency and trust. That takes time and patience, beginning with targeted essential assistance in local communities.”

To read more about Al Santoli’s Asia America Initiative click here.


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