Libmonster ID: SE-324
Author(s) of the publication: S. POYA

The August 2009 presidential election of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (IRA), in which incumbent President Hamid Karzai was declared the winner, was held with numerous irregularities and fraud.* His main rival Dr. A. Abdulla refused to participate in the 2nd round, not believing that this round would be more honest than the first1.

Immediately after Karzai remained the only candidate in early November 2009, automatically becoming President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, he was congratulated by the head of the White House, Barack Obama.

In a sense, it was a "tearful" greeting.

Washington had to come to terms with the victory of Karzai, who showed miracles not only in rigging the results of the first round of elections, but also in political maneuvering, the ability to negotiate with influential Afghan leaders, including local ones, using political and financial gifts, and bend his line in relations with the West, especially with the United States. issues related to internal policy.

But Obama did not remain in debt. Congratulating Karzai over the phone, he called on him to "open a new chapter" in strengthening the legitimacy of the Afghan government. According to the head of the White House, he sought to " impress on President Karzai that ... We should act boldly and decisively and take advantage of the interest of the international community in carrying out internal reforms in the country." Senior administration officials explained that this is primarily about fighting corruption and creating a special body for this purpose.2

In a speech at the West Point Military Academy, Obama said the Afghan government is " mired in corruption, drug trafficking, an underdeveloped economy and a lack of security forces."

Calling "effective governance of the state" one of the main directions of the new program for Afghanistan, he bluntly stated: "The days of squandering funds are over... From now on, we will make clear requirements for recipients of our assistance. We will support those Afghan ministers, governors and local leaders who are fighting corruption and are concerned about the welfare of the people. We expect that inefficient and corrupt officials will get what they deserve. " 3

The new old IRA president understood the "hint". But I approached it "creatively". First of all, he launched a vigorous PR campaign designed to prove his dedication to the fight against bribery. And then he retaliated with a propaganda blow to the "international community", which will be discussed below.

In an attempt to fend off opposition and Western discontent, Karzai declared the fight against government corruption to be a top priority in his inaugural address on November 19, 2009.4

But he had to play a double game. On the one hand, when forming a new cabinet, it was necessary to take into account the opinion of the West, on the other - to fulfill the behind-the-scenes election promises made to the leaders of various ethnic groups in Afghanistan.

FIGHTING CORRUPTION OR IMITATING IT?

Speaking at a joint press conference with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Kabul on December 8, 2009, shortly after Obama announced a new US strategy for Afghanistan, Karzai did not skimp on self-flagellation: "Ultimately, the responsibility for corruption, for fighting it, for eliminating it and minimizing it by all possible means lies entirely with us, the Afghan people. We must do this for the sake of Afghanistan. This is a disease that has affected our society. It interferes with a full-blooded life. It deprives us of funds"5. At the same time, he expressed his concern about the "contribution" of the international community to the spread of corruption in Afghanistan.

Gates was forced to admit that "the international community, including the United States, bears some responsibility" for this problem and promised to tighten the procedures for providing financial assistance to Afghanistan.6

Even before the new Government was announced, the Afghan leadership organized an international anti-corruption conference in Kabul in mid-December 2009.7

Speaking at it, Karzai "deepened" the topic of the impact of the external factor on the strengthening of corruption, saying that "foreign states play an important role in its spread in state bodies."

According to him, the international community has created a parallel state in Afghanistan, sending financial assistance to various structures, bypassing the central government: "Foreigners provide financial assistance to some state structures without our knowledge. Will officials listen to the president, the head of parliament and ministers if they are paid their salaries by foreigners and even buy armored cars for some of them-


* For more information, see: Korgun V. G. Afghanistan. Post-election hangover / / Asia and Africa Today, 2009, N 12.

page 10

mobiles?" Conclusion: "in such a situation, it is difficult to fight corruption" 8.

On December 19, exactly one month after President Karzai's inauguration, First Vice President Qasim Fahim presented the list of ministers.

As expected, key ministerial portfolios were retained by Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, Interior Minister Haif Atmar, Finance Minister Omar Zahilwal, Energy and Water Minister Ismail Khan, Justice Minister Sarwar Danish, as well as the Ministers of Agriculture, Education, Telecommunications, Women's Affairs and Counter-Narcotics. The posts of Ministers of Culture and Media, Economy, Refugee Affairs, and Mining were also offered to people who held various ministerial positions in Karzai's previous government.

Thus, the government included only 8 new ministers, heading, in fact, secondary departments.

The list of new cabinet members recommended by Karzai was seen as a litmus test that should show whether the president intends to fulfill his promise to purge corrupt officials from the government. And without such a purge, according to some members of the Afghan parliament, it is impossible to suppress the armed opposition.

The President presented to the Parliament the ministers of the new government, which allegedly has no corrupt officials left.9

In an attempt to heed Western calls and bolster his anti-corruption campaign, Karzai did not include Religious Affairs Minister Siddiq Chakari and Mining Minister Ibrahim Adel, both of whom were previously accused of bribery, in the new cabinet.

However, according to a number of deputies, in reality, supporters of the president accused of corruption and rigging the presidential election have retained their posts, and the new faces on the list represent clans or individual warlords who helped Karzai stay in power. For example, Ismail Khan, a well-known leader of paramilitary groups who is accused of human rights violations and usurpation of power in his region, received a ministerial post.

At the same time, the Prosecutor General's Office provided a list of high-ranking officials involved in corruption cases. It included 11 ministers, including Foreign Minister Rangin Spanta (now Karzai's adviser on international affairs), Interior Minister Hanif Atmar, Economy Minister Jalil Shams, Hajj and Religious Affairs Minister Siddiq Chakari, senior presidential adviser Namatullah Shahrani, and 6 governors, including the very influential governor of Balkh Province Atta Mohamad Attu.

Law enforcement agencies, as it were, resolutely took up the fight against corruption in all echelons of state power.

Karzai's role in this campaign is unclear. But the incident involving the mayor of the city of Kabul, whom the Prosecutor General's Office accused of corruption, is very significant. A court in Kabul sentenced him to 4 years in prison, but he was released half an hour after his arrest, and the president defended him.

At the London Conference on Afghanistan in January 2010, it was decided to increase the share of economic aid directed directly to the Afghan Government to 50% of its total volume within 2 years. But the latter is due to the Government's progress in further strengthening public finances, reducing corruption, improving budget execution and developing a financial strategy.

In particular, it was planned to sign a presidential decree within a month on granting the independent High Commission for Supervision the right to investigate and bring to justice corrupt government representatives.10

In addition, the conference participants called for improving the system of selection of government officials, as well as for the adoption in 2010 of legislation establishing a special commission on particularly serious crimes under the anti-corruption Tribunal and banning the work of close relatives of ministers and their advisers, members of Parliament and provincial governors in customs and tax institutions.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Gates on March 8, 2010, Karzai again spoke about two components of corruption. According to him, the internal "everyday" corruption that has hit the government and the entire system is being fought, the perpetrators are being brought to justice and put in prison. The second component is the contracts of Afghans with foreign partners. Karzai called on these partners to provide the Afghan Government with full information about such contracts.

Gates once again acknowledged that the very help of the international community has become one of the sources of corruption, and said that the Americans have not yet managed to put an end to such violations.11

On March 18, 2010, Karzai signed a decree expanding the powers of the High Commission for Supervision and Combating Corruption and making public data on the personal income of government officials. But this strengthening of the fight against bribery, by and large, has so far been limited.

HOW THE AFGHAN PRESIDENT BEAT THE AMERICAN ONE

Continued pressure on Karzai over corruption during Obama's lightning visit to Afghanistan on March 29, 2010, ended in a diplomatic embarrassment.

Noting the military successes of the coalition forces and the Afghan army, Obama called for " progress in the civilian field." Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security, J. R. R. Tolkien Jones was more outspoken: according to him, the head of the White House in private conversations sought to convey to Karzai that "there are things that have not been paid attention to almost from the first day of his second presidency." According to senior US officials, despite Karzai's promises at his inauguration,-

page 11

While it is important to fight corruption and improve governance, little has actually changed.12

Karzai's response was not long in coming.

Just days after Obama's visit, he lashed out at the UN after the lower house of the Afghan parliament blackballed a presidential decree removing UN representatives from the election review commission.

Karzai accused the UN, international media and "foreigners"of interfering in the country's internal affairs, seeking to create a puppet government in Afghanistan, and keep all the levers of control in their hands. 13

Although Karzai did not directly criticize the United States, his demarche put Washington in a delicate position also because the White House insisted on keeping foreigners on the commission. The Afghan leader had to be "reassured" and assured of support.

During Karzai's visit to Washington in May 2010, both Obama and the IRA President tried their best to show complete mutual understanding.

True, the rough work went to X. Clinton and several other cabinet members who have been in direct talks with their counterparts in the Afghan government to improve their agencies and strengthen the fight against corruption. Five joint groups of ministers were created, so to speak, on the issues of security, economy, agriculture, human resources, reconciliation and public administration. The American side hopes that in this way it will be possible to establish direct cooperation with individual Afghan ministries and departments.14

The Americans have already effectively abandoned the country's opium poppy control program, sacrificing it to the war with the Taliban. US Marines released in February 2010 Marju in Helmand province, the center of cultivation of this potion, was ordered to leave alone the widely sown datura fields and the peasants working on them, so as not to annoy them. In this regard, the Obama Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, R. Holbrooke, said in the summer of 2009 that the eradication of poppy crops is "a waste of money", "pushing farmers into the arms of the Taliban", since the cultivation of potion is their only source of income. True, the Americans promise to fight drug lords and drug couriers, but this is much more difficult than destroying crops.

Won't the same story happen in the fight against corruption?

AMBIGUOUS ATTITUDE

The new US strategy for Afghanistan has received the full support of the Kabul Government. "This is exactly what the Afghans were waiting for, what they were hoping for, and therefore we fully support the new strategy, which includes all aspects of Afghanistan's development and a successful war against terrorism," Karzai said.15

In the expert community of Afghanistan, the" long-awaited strategy " of the US president received a mixed assessment.

Some participants in a round table organized in Kabul in December 2009 by the Afghan news agency Bakhtar concluded that the implementation of this strategy could help eradicate terrorism in the region. Thus, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the IRA, Daoud Moradiyan, pointed out that neighboring Pakistan is called a haven of terrorists in the new strategy for the first time. And Nasrullah Stanakzai, a lecturer at Kabul University, stressed the importance of "the US President announcing the start date of the withdrawal of troops for the first time." 16

At the same time, deputy of the Volusi Jirga (lower house of Parliament) Habiba Danish believes that the announcement of the withdrawal dates is designed to stir up panic in the Afghan society. "Barack Obama's statement that the withdrawal of troops will begin in 18 months is a kind of signal for the Taliban, saying that we are leaving soon and we don't need to create a headache at this time," she said. In her opinion, it is impossible to achieve drastic changes in the country in such a short period of time.17

Ordinary Afghans, according to street polls, are very cool about the presence of foreign military personnel in Afghanistan and do not believe in the effectiveness of the Obama strategy. 18

On December 2, a Taliban statement was sent to the editorial offices of most Afghan media outlets.-

page 12

They were among the first to respond to Washington's latest plans. They called sending additional military reinforcements to US forces "pointless"and threatened to increase "resistance" that would lead to a" fiasco " of the new program, "as has happened in the past." 19

The Taliban, constantly changing the tactics of the fight, now deal the main blow to the capital of the country, where the main targets for them are government buildings and objects of international forces, including the UN. The rebels do not recognize the legitimacy of President Karzai and his government and insist on the early withdrawal of all foreign military forces from the country.

HOW TO SEPARATE THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF?

Although it has already become clear that the Afghan war cannot be won by military means alone, the issue of Taliban reintegration has sparked heated discussions in Afghanistan, as well as among members of the international coalition.

The London Conference supported Kabul's policy of ending the bloodshed in Afghanistan by reintegrating the Taliban and other anti-government militants into civilian life, provided they recognize the country's constitution, renounce armed struggle and break ties with Al-Qaeda.

It also welcomed the intention to develop and implement a national peace and reintegration programme and to convene a Loya Jirga for Peace and Reconciliation before the upcoming Kabul International Conference on Afghanistan. For their part, the participants promised to finance the Reintegration Fund 20.

The British Prime Minister at the time, Mr Brown, stressed that the reintegration programme was complementary to the main objective of strengthening the Afghan State, its army and police, but "this strategy also includes efforts to divide and divide the Taliban, recognizing that some people associated with the Taliban are not ideological extremists, they are not political extremists." they joined him as mercenaries or for other reasons. If they are ready to put an end to their past, they should, as in all other conflicts around the world, be allowed to return to society in order to resolve these conflicts, provided that they do not use violence." At the same time, he assured that "we are not going to allow the Taliban to come to power "and no one will deal with" those who are ideologically committed to a perverse interpretation of Islam that allows people to be killed and maimed with impunity." 21

The international community allocates $140 million for the first year of the Integration Fund's operation22.

During a visit to Washington in May 2010, Karzai confirmed that the reconciliation process is aimed at those members of the DT and other militant groups who "are not part of Al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations and are not our and our allies' ideological opponents and will not in any way pose a threat to our constitution, freedom, democracy and progress".

According to him, reintegration means the return to peaceful life of thousands of Taliban soldiers who left their home and country due to circumstances beyond the control of either the Afghan Government or them, or who took up arms due to mistakes of both the Government and the coalition forces.

Reconciliation is much more difficult. It concerns DT leaders, most of whom are based in Pakistan.

H. Clinton stressed that at least part of the DT leadership is strongly opposed to the peace process, confirming that it is not a question of reconciliation with those who participated in the terrorist attacks.23

* * *

Thus, the situation becomes similar to the one that developed in the late 80s of the XX century, when Moscow withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it also stopped helping the Najibullah regime. True, then Afghanistan had a powerful army, one of the most efficient and well-equipped in the region.

However, the current Afghan armed forces are under-equipped and understaffed, and Karzai, despite his popularity among some voters, is indecisive and at times inconsistent in pursuing his course.

Afghans view the chances of implementing the Taliban reintegration plan differently.

Optimists hope for behind-the-scenes negotiations, which are mediated by a number of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Karzai's emissaries are conducting with " yarost-

page 13

the" mullahs " of the armed opposition.

Saudi Arabia's influence over the Afghan Taliban may be as strong as that of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia in the mid-90s diplomatically recognized the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" and to this day retains its influence on the Afghan Taliban. It is no coincidence that Zalmay Rasul, who once worked in Saudi Arabia and is personally acquainted with the Saudi royal family, was appointed to the post of Foreign Minister of the IRA.

The main conditions under which the Taliban is ready to lay down their arms and start negotiations are known. These include changing the country's constitution, withdrawing foreign troops, recognizing the DT as part of the Afghan political system, opening representative offices of the Taliban in cities of Afghanistan, removing the movement's leaders from the UN Security Council's" black list", and finally releasing all Taliban from prison.

If the fulfillment of the last 5 conditions is a matter of time, then the implementation of the first one, according to Afghan law, depends on the decision of the jirga. Given that President Karzai has repeatedly stated that he is ready to achieve peace in Afghanistan at any cost, it seems quite realistic to amend the constitution.

Karzai hopes that the implementation of his plans for national reconciliation and reintegration will attract at least 70% of the Afghan Taliban to peaceful life. This process may begin with those areas of the country that will come under the control of the Afghan armed forces.

The attitude of the Afghan society to the project of integration of the "moderate Taliban" is ambiguous.

According to Harun Amirzad, an Afghan political analyst based in London, the term "moderate Taliban" used by Kabul is a real myth, and any attempts to integrate them into the power structures can lead to unpredictable consequences. This idea, he said, is not supported by a significant part of the Afghan population, which has fresh memories of the brutal "medieval" rule of the Taliban, and if implemented, it can lead to a split in the country.

The presidential election showed that half of the country's population actively and openly opposes Taliban ideas and supports change. But the refusal of the second half of the population to participate in the elections reflects that they are either intimidated by the Taliban or dissatisfied with the current Afghan government.

The idea of integrating the "moderate Taliban" into the structures of the Afghan government is also not welcomed by most countries in the region, so it can lead to increased foreign interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

So far, the Taliban leadership ignores all the calls of the Afghan president and a number of Western countries for dialogue and a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict and declares its speedy victory. It hopes that with the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, it will once again seize power in the country.24

The Loya Jirga for Peace and Reconciliation held in Kabul in early June 2010 approved the start of peace talks with the Taliban and called for the establishment of a special commission.

It was attended by about 1,600 tribal leaders and elders, as well as other political, religious and public figures, including some former Taliban leaders who have returned to civilian life and even been elected to Parliament. But there were no new faces from the top of the DT. But on the first day, this assembly was shelled with mortars, and a large-scale suicide attack was barely prevented. DT assumed responsibility.

The prospects for" Afghanizing " the pacification of the country remain a challenge with many unknowns.


1 New York Times, 2.11.2009.

2 Obama Warns Karzai to Focus on Tackling Corruption // New York Times, 3.11.2009.

3 The White House Press Office. December 01, 2009. Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on the Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Eisenhower Hall Theatre, United States Military Academy at West Point, West Point, New York - http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-address-nation-way-forward-a fghanistan-and-pakistan

4 Bakhtar News Agency, 19.11.2009.

5 U.S. Department of Defense. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). December 08, 2009. Joint Press Conference with Secretary Gates and President Karzai from Kabul, Afghanistan - http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx7TranscriptID-4522

6 Ibidem.

7 Bakhtar News Agency, 16.12.2009.

8 www.ariananet.com/modules.php?name-Artikel&op-view&sid-11617

9 Wakht News Agency - http://www.wakht.com/latest_news/011489.php

10 Ibidem.

11 Official website of the US Department of Defense. March 08, 2009. Joint Press Conference with Secretary Gates and President Karzai. http://www.defense.gov

12 Washington Post, 29.03.2010.

13 Washington Post, 2.04.2010.

14 U.S. Department of State. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State. Remarks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a Moderated Conversation. U.S. Institute of Peace, 13.05.2010 http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/05/141825.htm

15 Bakhtar News Agency - http://bakhtarnews.com.af/da/index.php? news=8761

16 Ibidem.

17 Ibidem.

18 Ariana Afghanistan TV Hakikat, 20.11.2009.

19 Statement of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Taliban): Regarding 'Obama's New Strategy'. 2.12.2009 - http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/nefa_talibanobamasurge1209.pdf

20 Afghanistan: The London Conference. 28 January 2010. Communique...

21 Gordon Brown: BBC News interview on Afghanistan. 28 Jan 2010 - http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view-Speech&id=21672670

22 London Conference on Afghanistan. 28.01.2010. Transcript of press conference given by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Special Representative Kai Eide and the Afghani Foreign Minister, Dr Rangin Spanta - http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view-Speech&id=21647724

23 Remarks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a Moderated Conversation...

24 http://www.ariaye.com/dari6/siasi2/polad2.html


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