Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The roots of the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan

In an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof references an interview he recently conducted with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. According to Kristof, Karzai made serious accusations of “official Pakistani duplicity”, and made it clear that he believes that Pakistan is supporting the Taliban’s resurgence in southern Afghanistan and offering safe haven to many Taliban leaders.

Karzai implied that the Pakistani government would have an interest in securing the failure of the Afghan government, so as to make the country, in Kristof’s words, “a helpless puppet of Pakistan.”

From Kristof’s own perspective, he suggests that Karzai exaggerates the role of the Pakistani government in the catastrophe in southern Afghanistan. He says that the U.S. has not been fully committed to addressing the critical challenge that the situation in Afghanistan presents.

“We haven’t done nearly enough to build up the Afghan Army and police, which don’t antagonize conservative Afghans the way U.S. troops often, do. We fumbled the reconstruction and aid projects needed to win hearts and minds. My vote is for a big push to battle maternal mortality, because 18,000 Afghan women die annually in childbirth — dwarfing the 4,000 Afghans who died last year in Taliban-related violence,” Kristof says. He also goes on to urge the Afghan government to combat corruption and drug trafficking within its ranks.

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