Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, March 19th, 2018

Military Withdrawal and Karzai’s Happiness


Military Withdrawal and Karzai’s Happiness

Perhaps, President Karzai has a secret enthusiasm for international community' military withdrawal from Afghanistan. From the very start of announcement of President Barrack Obama about, as many experts maintain, a "steep military drawdown", the Presidential Palace abnormally welcomed the decision amidst doubts and suspicion of Afghan security forces capacity to cope with the situation unilaterally. As well, on Friday, July 1, while insisting on national unity, he said there should be no hurdle ahead of success of security transition. "The people of Afghanistan were impatiently waiting to see the process begin, and the president also hoped the process would be successfully completed by 2014."

However, his statement regarding the impatience of Afghan people is truly doubted about military withdrawal, but it is not that bad because nowadays there are huge propaganda about US and other militarily engaged countries' true intention and their long-term presence in the country. The notion that US and its allies are not here to leave this soon was becoming prevalent among common people. Now the withdrawal of around 33 thousand troops by next September, on one hand, meets the concern of those who constantly analyze the global incidents on propaganda theories, on the other hand, give an alarming injection to Afghan police officers and military commanders to not count on presence of NATO aircrafts and armors to meet security challenges indefinitely. To protect people and themselves against frequent attacks of Taliban-led militants, they have to depend only on their own muscle and utilize their possessing at premium, because there would be no NATO aircrafts after 2014, to hunt down Taliban elements.

But the question is here: why President is somehow enthusiastic about military drawdown process? Is it due to his confidence over strength of Afghan security forces? Or it refers to his personal controversial relation about military strategies?

In the first case, there are no sings of military empowerment or improvement of the capacity of Afghan security forces to deal with the situation unilaterally. No doubt, after Obama's plan of military surge, aimed to push militants back and diminish their operational power, Taliban-led militants have lost large areas under their full or half control. But the overall security situation is completely grim. For instance, the last week incidents at Kabul Intercontinental hotel was like a shock and vehemently shook confidence over security forces, particularly, police forces to assume responsibility of the security after the completion of transition process.

The location of the hotel is a dividend for it and penetration of terror elements are extremely hard if even few security forces outwardly notice people coming in and going out. It is located on the top of hill and no vehicles are allowed to pass without checkup by police checkpoints just near to the hotel. Generally, common civilians do not go to the hotel and only officials and foreign diplomats are its usual guests. Moreover, pedestrians are checked closely too. Then how eight fully armed militants were not noticed while making their way to the hotel?

Such questions are not going to be answered here at all, because such incidents are not rare and no one has the time to follow cases. So when police are not able to protect Intercontinental hotel, in one of the safest cities and also in one of the naturally safe areas, then are they really ready to assume responsibility? Are Afghan officials, including President who is confidently voicing that Afghan security forces are ready to replace withdrawn foreign forces, kidding? Thus, perhaps, the eagerness or enthusiasm of President does not lie on the same bed with that of ground realities. In another word, he is not happy about withdrawal process because he trusts much security forces under his command. Then there should be something else, and that many analysts think refers to his personal controversial relation with involved countries.

It is obvious that he has not had a quite friendly relation with his foreign allies. Frequently, he complains about mistakes committed by NATO, donations not spent through channels of his corrupt administration, civilians' casualties and etc. sometimes, he opted for a tough position and warned foreign forces about reckless and careless airstrikes that culminated to noncombatant casualty. Last month he even let his flurry anger out. With full-throat, he talked about occupiers and Afghan people's resistance against presence of foreign forces. He added that NATO presence in Afghanistan was due to its own interests and not Afghans, and such other stuff.  

Closely considering his statements and assessing his unfriendly relations, it was expected much that presidential palace would welcome the withdrawal as happened. After years of foreign presence in the country, Mr. President increasingly is provided to accept the notion that security crisis would not come to an end by options foreign countries proposed or tried during past ten years.  It has been long since he counts much on diplomatic alternatives. By his initiative, peace council was organized and commission of peace and reconciliation was formed to negotiate with militants face to face. But without sincere cooperation of Pakistan, the efforts would not prove fruitful, he knows more than anybody else. He has concentrated to build a friendly diplomatic tie with Islamabad officials, who are angry about US presence in neighboring country as well as because of drone attacks, which they view as violation of sovereignty, too.  As during last month, several missiles were fired from that side of the border into Afghan soil, but he has reacted cautiously; in contrast to the period when former President Pervez Musharraf was on power, he was constantly blaming the neighbor for Taliban and Al-Qaeda's activity inside Afghanistan. 

Jawad Rahmani is the permanent writer of Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached through mail@outlookafghanistan.com

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