‘Time for US to pack up from Afghanistan’

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Interview with Dr Shahid Qureshi : –

The death of four Afghan civilians in a recent NATO operation has renewed tension between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western allies.

Press TV interviewed Shahid Qureshi, political analyst in London, regarding the issue.

Press TV: What does it show when you have civilians dying, when you have US-led NATO soldiers dying? What does that say about the security situation in Afghanistan?

Qureshi: Afghanistan is an occupied country, let alone the north or south or whatever side you take. As far as the north or northern lines role is concerned with it, maybe the leaders might have a difference of opinion, but the people of Afghanistan are against this occupation, and against the civilian killings and the civilian deaths by the NATO forces and the US forces and the near forces.

If the Afghan government or [President] Hamid Karzai’s government is so much concerned about it, they can take it to the International Criminal Court; they can take it to the war crimes [tribunal]… because the UN mandate is not to attack Afghanistan or Afghan civilians, the UN mandate was to look for the al-Qaeda suspects in Afghanistan, and kill them or arrest them to bring them to justice.

But what really happened is, according to the foreign magazines published in February, they are only 150 al-Qaeda suspects in Afghanistan, and the cost of the US [war] is USD 7 billion a month. Now, in this scenario they have violated the UN mandate, they have over-budgeted this war, and it is very hard for them to justify the whole scenario, the thing in front of the US taxpayers, as far as the killing is concerned, the civilian death, that matter should have gone to the UN Security Council at the UN General Assembly, where it could be discussed at that level, because the occupying parties have violated the UN mandate.

Press TV: Let’s talk about Osama bin Laden’s death. They came into the country; the Unites States led the war. Osama bin Laden was a big part of it after the 9/11 attacks, and of course we’re looking at three months away from this 10-year war. So do you think it’s time to pack up?

Qureshi: Well, it’s a long due time to pack it up. It is longer than World War II. World War II lasted for six years, this war has gone longer than that, and as far as bin Laden is concerned, Mr. bin Laden was America’s man. He was the list’s tops, like Saddam Hussein, and Mr. bin Laden was one of them as well.

He came in a charter plane and fought for the US. I don’t want to dwell on too much on them; Mr. bin Laden became irrelevant in the war on terror after 2005. Now his dramatic Hollywood style closure is more dramatic than the basis of reality. And his investigation requires holding more onto this drama as well into how they wanted to fool the whole world. Yes, it was a failure of intelligence and so was 9/11 the failure of intelligence, and Bombay bombing and so forth.

Now coming back to the current situation in Afghanistan, Afghanistan has became a place where they are planning to threaten China, I mean 411 bases in a country is a large number, and that is costing about USD 7 billion plus to the US taxpayers.

America is a bankrupt country, they have no money, they are fighting this war on the Chinese money, they are just printing dollars, and the danger the economists are saying is that one day the whole thing is going to collapse. If they are trying to threaten China by building these bases, one of the Chinese officials had said to me that we’re not afraid of these bases or these forces in our neighborhood.

But again if they are looking for widening the conflict in Pakistan, that would be more dangerous for the whole world, let alone Afghanistan [which] was a different case, but if you’re going into Pakistan, that is going to be a different ball game, and if Pakistan cannot fight with the United Sates because it is too far, but Pakistan, definitely, can fight with the friend of the US in the region, with India or anybody else. Let’s be very clear about that, that [is] the future scenario for the US and the world in this region.

Press TV: Let’s look at some of the EU statements, looking at the representative of the EU, who said that we should not speak about Afghanistan in 30 months, this was a couple of months ago, and we should probably think of Afghanistan in terms of 30 years. That was the statement that an EU representative made.

And another, about the EU commitment, he said that the EU has pledged a commitment with police, but its credibility has been undermined by chronic understaffing and underfunding.

Again, this question of unity, not only about the strategy but also, now, among the coalition partners comes into mind, doesn’t it?

Qureshi: Well, that is true. I mean, the fundamental problem, the strategies [they] are still having in Afghanistan, they have failed to understand the difference between the Taliban and the non-Taliban, and their family links, and how Afghan society and Afghan culture work. That is their first failure.

If they really want to deal with the stake holders in Afghanistan, they need to talk.

All the stake holders, including Afghanistan, and the Taliban, it is time they should come in the main stream and become part of the political process.

Obviously, Taliban are a part of the whole society. So all the proper players in Afghanistan are talking to Taliban, maybe behind the back doors, in the middle of the night, but they are blaming others that you are playing a double game, they are blaming Pakistan to play a double game… but at the same time all the UN and US, they are all talking to Taliban in the night or in the day, or somewhere else, but the objective is that they are not sure what they want to do, they should be sure that they should leave Afghanistan as soon as possible, because they are running out of money.

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