You are browsing the archive for Ahmed Wali Karzai.

by CTuttle

Major Fail in the ‘Hearts and Minds’ PR ‘Processes’

8:54 pm in Military by CTuttle

"We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat" -ISAF/NATO Gen. McChrystal

Yesterday, McChrystal attempted to spin this frank statement he uttered to NPR the previous day; Top General: It’s A Draw In Afghanistan, on Faux Spew, in which; McChrystal Sees Progress, but ‘Nobody Is Winning’ Afghan War Yet…

…In a blunt assessment of the war in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal declared in a TV interview Thursday that "nobody is winning," though he also pointed to progress in stopping the momentum of insurgents.

The assessment by McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, comes a day after President Obama, while hosting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House, predicted the war will get worse before it gets better.

McChrystal was responding to a question posed in an interview that aired on PBS’ "News Hour."

"I think I would be prepared to say nobody is winning, at this point," McChrystal said. "Where the insurgents, I think, felt that they had momentum a year ago, felt that they were making clear progress, I think that’s stopped."

Now it is the U.S. and Afghan forces that have "made a lot of progress," he said.

WTF…? Why would you be offering ‘Courageous Restraint’ medals, for pete’s sakes if you actually thought your COIN tactics were working…? If a Platoon Leader decided not to man a checkpoint, does he merit an AAM…? Checkpoints, of course, currently constituting the largest spike in civilian casualties in Afghanistan…

…Shootings of Afghan civilians by American and NATO convoys and at military checkpoints have spiked sharply this year, becoming the leading cause of combined civilian deaths and injuries at the hands of Western forces, American officials say.

The steep rise in these convoy and checkpoint attacks — which the military calls “escalation of force incidents” — has prompted military commanders to issue new troop guidelines in recent weeks that include soliciting local Afghan village and tribal elders and other leaders for help preventing convoy and checkpoint shootings.

Now, today, Spencer and Jim posted two poignant posts…

From Spencer’s Windy post…

…On Thursday, however, Karzai, McChrystal and Clinton sounded harmonious notes about what McChrystal described as not an operation but a “rising tide of security” into the city. All three expressly forswore the use of the word “operation” — the word conjured up inappropriate images of “tanks, troops moving” through the city, Karzai said — and instead said Kandahar would be a “process” featuring more out-governing the Taliban than out-fighting it. Karzai suggested he became more comfortable with the “process” in Kandahar in the last week.

“This is the consequence of consultations that we have had” with the Americans, Karzai said. “The effort in Kandahar and the surrounding area has to be explained better, the modality of it has to be explained better, so we’re not calling it at all an operation.” Instead, the “process” would feature “bringing conditions to the Kandahar region and around where there is better governance, better resources and more active, vigorous vibrant intelligence activity and then, if and when and where needed, an operation militarily, in consultation with the community and backed by the community.”

McChrystal told reporters at the Pentagon not to expect a “D-Day and an H-hour and an attack” on the city, calling it “a process, not an event.” Instead, he will surge forces — NATO and Afghan — into Kandahar and its surrounding areas “without lapsing into major fighting” that he said “the insurgents would love to see.”

While McChrystal did not specify his battle plan at his briefing, informed sources indicated to TWI that McChrystal would seek to raise the current force mix in Kandahar from 6900 NATO troops and 5300 Afghan troops currently to 11,850 NATO forces and 8500 Afghans by September, with an emphasis on more than doubling the Afghan police presence there. That “rising tide” will coincide with planned rapid assemblies of local jirgas to “reconnect” Kandaharis to national, provincial and local government representatives — something to which Karzai said today he is committed. By November, McChrystal’s command expects to see subtle and favorable changes in Afghan perceptions of the capabilities of the government to provide a better life and for Afghan security forces to keep the peace.

McChrystal said in his press briefing that one of the lessons of months’ worth of difficult fighting in Helmand province is that change is measured in Afghan perceptions of which side offers a better future — and can’t be easily observed. “If you go every day, each day, it’s not a dramatic change,” McChrystal said. “If you go months’ difference, then it is.” That raised the prospect of months of ambiguous progress, at best, occurring alongside what McChrystal forecast would be violent and bloody contests with the Taliban.

Yep, Success can’t be judged until November, at the earliest…

US: Success of Afghan Anti-Taliban Surge Won’t Be Known Until End of Year

…The commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan says it will likely be the end of the year before it is clear whether the effort to assert Afghan government control in the key southern city of Kandahar is succeeding.

U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal says the Afghan and coalition effort in Kandahar has been going on for several months and will continue for several more, with a combination of military and civilian operations to expand the areas controlled by the Afghan government and to deliver security and services to the people.

And the general says just as the effort is gradual, without a formal starting date or a major military offensive, evidence of its effectiveness will also come slowly.

"I think it is going to be the end of this calendar year before you will know," he said. "I may know and feel before that. But I think that it will matter when the Afghan people know, and when the Afghan people have made that judgment. That will be the key point."

At a news conference near the end of the Washington visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, General McChrystal stressed the difficulties that lie ahead as the surge of U.S. and international forces continues and their operations, along with Afghan forces, intensify.

"This is a process that takes time," he said. "It will demand courage and resilience. We should expect increased violence as our combined security forces expand into Taliban-controlled areas."

*heh* It always gets lost amongst the noise of the MSM’s reporting that Kandahar is the Spiritual home of their much touted Taliban…! But, I digress…

Jim noticed a seismic shift in the Fawning Corporate Media’s reporting bias…

As Afghanistan Night Raid Protests Turn Deadly, NATO and US Forces Lose Press Credibility

One can only hope it’s a Cronkite-level paradigm shift…

I would like to add to the general discourse, that, there are two operations ‘Processes’ in motion aimed at Kandahar…

As I’d noted shortly after ‘success’ was declared in Marja… Operation Omid was launched with some fanfare…

Then, I’d noticed another name mentioned in the Operation Process on Kandahar, announced later on…

OPERATION HAMKARI UNDER WAY IN KANDAHAR

Karzai’s visit comes as U.S. defense officials say they are expanding the Afghan and international effort to assert Afghan government control beyond Helmand province to Kandahar.

Army General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told the MSNBC television channel May 6 that “we have already long since commenced the operations in Kandahar” to expand security and establish local governance “that can be seen as legitimate in the eyes of the people.”

“This is not going to be an operation like Fallujah [in Iraq], where you start at one side of the city and fight your way to the other and clear it of insurgents. Rather, it’s going to be an expanding tide, if you will, a rising tide of security,” Petraeus said.

In testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Armed Services Committee May 5, U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General John Paxton Jr., who is director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the effort in Kandahar is named Hamkari, which means “cooperation” in Dari, and was “planned and will be conducted with our Afghan partners in the lead.”

As with Operation Moshtarak, which has been conducted in Helmand province, the coalition is integrating military efforts to improve security with civilian projects that are focused on improving local governance, development and agriculture.

“The focus of Hamkari is on providing Kandahar with credible and effective governance that gives the population hope for the future. More effective government will deliver security, basic services, development and employment. If these ends are achieved, the people of Kandahar will reject the insurgency and support the government,” Paxton said.

“A more capable, representative and responsive government will be able to bring the economic development and rule of law that the area so badly needs,” he said.

So, fer shits and giggles, that would be why they have to get in bed with the louse-infested, Half Brother, Wali Karzai, the King of Kandahar…!

As a recent Timesonline article stated…

…The success or failure of Hamkari, the coalition’s make-or-break gambit in Kandahar, will define the future of the Afghan war, so some may puzzle over why so much is being given away so early. Won’t revealing information about the forces and the political plan for Kandahar endanger coalition lives and allow the insurgents to develop an informed counter-strategy?

In non-conventional warfare, the information campaign is everything and the psychological effect will be far greater than that of bombs and bullets. There are plenty of precedents for civilians and enemy forces being informed of an army’s intent — not least in Helmand during Operation Moshtarak.

In most cases the objectives are simple: to encourage civilians to leave and prevent innocent casualties. In Kandahar the priorities are more complex but can be decoded easily enough.

Emphasis has been placed by diplomats and commanders on the narrow window of opportunity — between the peak of troop numbers in August and the US midterm elections in November.

I would posit that both ‘Processes’ are still underway in Kandahar, Hope and Co-operation…! (Ironic, no…?)

GlobalPost’s Jean MacKenzie, further mentioned Hope (Omid) today…

Karzai’s US visit yields cold comfort

…The ostensible goal of the visit was to brush up Karzai’s image in the United States, where recent polls show that Americans are feeling more and more reluctant to continue supporting the war in Afghanistan. The United States needed to demonstrate that earlier criticism of the Afghan president had been put aside.

The Afghan president was also intent on securing Washington’s commitment to negotiations with the Taliban, a topic that will be the subject of a Peace Jirga in Kabul later this month.

Despite brave attempts to put the best possible face on the proceedings, the Obama-Karzai “summit” yielded little in the way of real progress, and failed to fully rehabilitate the problematic Afghan president, either at home or abroad. [...]

Eikenberry, a retired general who had a close relationship to the Afghan president in his former capacity as commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, would not say outright that he had laid his earlier fears to rest. The closest he would come, before Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stepped in to save him, was to acknowledge that “President Karzai is the — he’s the elected president of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a close friend and ally, and of course I highly respect President Karzai in that capacity,”

Talk about damning with faint praise. [...]
“Now, obviously, there are going to be tensions in such a complicated, difficult environment,” said Obama during the pair’s joint press briefing on Wednesday.

The topic of reconciliation with the Taliban also did not move off ground zero.

The U.S. position has always been that any Taliban who renounce violence, break with their ideological mentors and accept the Afghan constitution are welcome to a seat at the negotiating table.

This has always been a non-starter with the armed opposition, who want any negotiations to address some of their conditions — such as the withdrawal of foreign troops.

As Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, the former Taliban foreign minister, put it in an earlier interview with GlobalPost: “Once we have put down their arms and accepted the constitution, what is there to talk about? That is not negotiation, that is surrender.”

Karzai was hoping for something a bit more substantive in advance of his Peace Jirga in Kabul in late May, during which he will try to forge a broad consensus among the Afghan people on the way to a negotiated settlement with the insurgency.

Instead, he got warmed-over assurances that the United States firmly supported peace — on its previously stated terms, of course. [...]
Probably the most worrying aspect of the visit, in the Afghan president’s eyes, were frequent references to the proposed U.S. drawdown of forces, set to begin in July 2011. Many observers have traced Karzai’s new eagerness to reach an agreement with the Taliban to his angst over being left to deal with them on his own once his American backers go home.

The stated plan has been to hand over security to Afghanistan’s own security forces — to “make Afghanistan masters in their own house” according to a NATO summit in Tallinn last month.

But police training has stalled badly, and even the army is not up to snuff, despite Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s remarks during a press briefing that the growth of the Afghan national army and police was “largely on track.”

In the end, the visit was an extended exercise in public relations, designed to reassure audiences in Washington and Kabul that the war is being won, the end is in sight, victory is in the air.

But judging by the reaction in Kabul, the message fell flat.

Hmmm… I wonder why…?

by CTuttle

‘Battlefield Executions’, ‘Patterns of Life’, ‘Nancy Pelosi of Kandahar’, and Other Blasphemies

1:45 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Transcript here

My, my… With Karzai in town there’s been a sudden surge in AfPak articles. Spanning the political spectrum from Breitbart’s dubious reporting: Mullah Omar Has Been Captured! To Spencer’s Windy article: Five Messages From the Obama-Karzai Press Conference…

I’d first like to expand and expound upon Spencer’s ‘listicle’ points…

1. Unity, Stand Together as One.

This point is pretty generic and I can only add that I found it interesting that ISAF/NATO rebranded the whole operation aimed at Kandahar, it is no longer Operation Hope err… Omid, it’s now called Operation Hamkari (Co-operation, in Dari… natch!)

2. The ‘Peace Jirga’ Will Be as Successful as the War Effort Allows It to Be. A reporter expressed skepticism that the Taliban will embrace any reconciliation plan offered by a forthcoming “consultative peace jirga” in Kabul. That effort has been a signature agenda item for Karzai since the January international conference on Afghanistan in London, especially since polls show that the Afghan people badly want a negotiated end to the war. But while U.S. officials have been careful to emphasize the differences between reconciliation efforts with Taliban leaders and reintegration efforts to absorb low-level Taliban fighters, Karzai instead talked about the “thousands of Taliban who are not ideologically oriented, who are not part of al-Qaeda or other terrorist networks.” Those “country boys” have been radicalized, he said, “at times, [by] misconducted by us.”

*heh* Don’t raise your hopes for the Afghan peace jirga! And about those ‘country boys’… 85% in Kandahar Call Taliban "Our Afghan Brothers"… I might add that the Taleban has already said they’d boycott the jirga… I actually saw a alemarah.info cite saying they’d do so, however, neither google, nor, yahoo would let me retrieve their statement…! The better half told me she didn’t want the FBI harassing us when I’d grumbled about it…! I told her we’re probably already high on a list some where…! She was not amused… But, I digress…!

3. Let’s Not Talk About Corruption. You’ll be shocked to hear that persistent issues in Afghan government corruption or capacity to deliver services for the Afghan people were addressed only in general terms from a joint presidential White House press conference, for all the talk about “frankness.” Karzai pledged his “dedication and extreme care to ensure” that U.S. economic aid to Afghanistan is “spent well.” Obama said that he was encouraged by Karzai’s words and initial actions since his second inaugural, but there is “more to do.”…

More to do…? You’ve already gotten in bed with his brother, Ahmid…! Which leads me to Wali’s recent asinine analogy; "I’m the Nancy Pelosi of Kandahar"… Ironically, Miz Pelosi had this to say upon her recent jaunt to Afghanistan and personal visit with Wali Karzai… "Pelosi says corruption holding back Afghanistan" Now, moving right along…

4. “Long-Term Relationship.” Three words spoken very often by both presidents. “This is a long-term partnership that is not simply defined by our military presence,” Obama said. “After July 2011, we are still going to have an interest in making sure Afghanistan is secure.” Music to Karzai’s ears. Let’s see if Obama’s political enemies continue to misrepresent July 2011 as the beginning of a U.S. troop bugout.

It would be nice if our troops bugged out like the Dutch, Canadians, and, possibly the Germans… But, that’d be a mere pipe dream like this…

5. Civilian Casualties Must Be Avoided. They’re “not just a political problem for me,” Obama said about the most inflammatory issue in Afghan eyes. “I am ultimately accountable” for every civilian death in Afghanistan. In a surprisingly personal recognition, Obama said that civilian deaths are “something I have to carry with me.” Karzai praised Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s efforts to avoid mistakenly killing Afghan civilians, but recent reports indicate those casualties are again on the rise.

More recent reports, along with this Shootings of Afghans on Rise at Checkpoints, and even this Afghanistan reports surge in civilian deaths

Now, this would truly be noble of our Peace Nobelist Prez…

Obama: I Am Accountable for Afghan Civilian Casualties

If it wasn’t for that whole ‘Pattern of Life’ thingy going on…

…So we should not be surprised to find the Obama Administration outstripping its mentors and models from the Bush years in the production of Orwellian nomenclature. Nor is it remarkable that these perversions of language are leading to further perversions of law, morality and plain common sense.

We refer to the recent story in the Los Angeles Times about the vast expansion of the CIA’s powers to murder people in Pakistan with missiles fired by robot drones. These remote-control killings were originally aimed at specific, known, named individuals suspected of being top "militant" leaders. But now, people are being targeted not because of any action they are known or alleged to have taken, but simply because they seem to fit an arbitrarily designated "pattern of life" — even if the remote-control killers don’t know the victim’s name.

This "pattern" is put together from clumps of data gathered by surveillance robots hovering high in the sky above Pakistani towns and villages, watching people as they go about their ordinary business, and from whatever bits of local gossip the CIA can glean from paid operatives raking through their neighbor’s private lives. Naturally, the CIA refuses to describe "the standards of evidence" by which it decides to kill unknown, defenseless people with missile strikes on houses, compounds and neighborhoods. And of course, the Agency claims it is targeting only "militants" (however that infinitely elastic term is being defined these days).

Yet at the same time, the Terror War operatives cannot resist boasting that they are sweeping up so much information that they can determine "the characteristics of individual people." And since is it the pattern of observed daily life that yields the designation of a person as a "militant," the CIA must inevitably be tracking countless numbers of innocent people as well. Otherwise, how could they discern specific "patterns of life" that indicate the existence of a hitherto unknown "militant" within a given population? You can only get such data by observing that population as a whole.

We truly have sunk to new lows…!

by CTuttle

Petraeus And NATO Get In Bed With Wali Karzai

5:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Part 2 of Wars sending U.S. into ruin

We can literally half our current Defense Budget and we’d still spend more than the rest of the World combined…! So pardon me if this recent rhetoric from SecDef Gates Criticizes Bloated Military Bureaucracy falls on deaf ears here, and, in the halls of congress…! It would be lovely if we saw front page headlines such as this…

US Cannot Afford Another Afghanistan or Iraq: Gates

Sadly tho, that’s a Kabul newspaper headline…!

Meanwhile, as the Fawning Corporate Media has been busy chasing the shiny, Shahzad bauble, very little attention is being given to the real stories happening in Afghanistan now…

For instance… Yesterday, Nancy Pelosi headed a Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan, the Taliban vow new Afghan offensive with Karzai in US, and, the announcement that Afghanistan to hold Peace Assembly on May 29…!

Interestingly, that grand ‘Jirga’, has already been rescheduled twice, and, is timed to happen shortly after Hamid Karzai’s visit with Obama…!

At which point, Afghanistan’s Karzai to ask Obama for billions more to fight Taliban…! Errm… Excuse me…? Apparently, the additional $33 Billion for the Surge’s 30,000 more troops is insufficient…!

Isn’t it ironic that Hamid seems to be greasing the skids for his DC visit’s plea for more cash with an Op-Ed in today’s WaPoo… Entitled: "Afghanistan appreciates its partnership with the U.S." Fancy that…!

But, I digress…!

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Operation Hope…? Hope It Works?

11:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

In fairness to the numbnut General that chose that title, it’s actually Operation Omid…

Dread surrounds Operation Hope

The word omid means "hope" in Afghanistan’s Dari language. But, judging by the reaction of local residents, the coming U.S.-led military offensive against the Taliban in Kandahar could not be more inappropriately named.

Ya think…?

It is just so wrong on so many levels…!

Back in early March, I had mentioned it was a bad idea to invade Kandahar when it was first announced… In which, Sec. Gates had personally warned of ‘Dark Days’ ahead… This will be the largest assault ever planned by ISAF, against the second largest city in Afghanistan, that also happens to be the ‘spiritual’ home of the Taliban, and, ruled by Hamid Karzai’s little bro Ahmed, the King of Kandahar… WTF are they thinking…?

Some more from the Global Post…

“Operation Omid will bring more insecurity, instead of peace,” said Salaam, who lives in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province. “We have just seen that the opposition has accelerated its attacks. There are more and more explosions in the province. You cannot bring peace through war.”

Operation Omid will not be fully underway until early summer, according to the U.S. military. The exact size of the force to be deployed is not yet clear, but it is expected to swallow a good portion of the 30,000 additional troops being sent to Afghanistan this year.

The operation will center on two districts — Arghandab and Zheray — rather than on the city itself. Fighting in a major population center, moreover one that is home to some of Islam’s most cherished relics, such as the cloak of the Prophet, would go against the hearts and minds strategy that has been a central tenet of the new U.S. strategy.

The Taliban seem eager to get things started.

Over the past week, a series of suicide explosions have rocked the city center. This, along with the much-publicized shooting of a civilian bus by U.S. troops, has given Kandaharis a taste of the approaching conflict. They do not seem to relish the prospect.

The U.S. military has been talking of Kandahar ever since they declared success in Marjah, a dusty patch of desert in neighboring Helmand Province. Once the Afghan flag was raised over the Marjah district center in early March, Kandahar became the focal point of the stepped-up battle against the Taliban.[...]

The city is not under Taliban control — the government, in the person of Ahmad Wali Karzai, the president’s half-brother and head of Kandahar’s Provincial Council, dominates the center. This is one reason that the fighting will be spread out to the districts surrounding the center.

Observers say that this will prompt the Taliban to adopt their usual tactics — melting away until the foreign forces retreat, then flooding back into the area.

“The armed opposition is experienced in guerrilla warfare,” said Bismillah Afghanmal, a senator from Kandahar. “They know when and where to fight, and they know very well how to flee the area that is the focus of the operation. Omid will not bring good results.”

Some of the fighters are moving into more remote districts, but a good number are heading for the city, where they appear ready to carry out regular acts of “asymmetrical warfare” — suicide bombings, the planting of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and other measures designed to spread terror.

As a result, the situation in Kandahar city is deteriorating rapidly, according to author Alex Strick van Linschoten, who has been living in the southern capital for more than two years conducting research on the Taliban.

“We are running out of ways to say how bad things are,” he said. “There is a general feeling of paranoia and fear — fear of what’s going to happen tomorrow, of what the future will bring. No one wants to be in Kandahar. Everyone is trying to sell up and get out.”

Even BetrayusPetraeus warns of the tough slog to secure Kandahar…

…Gen Petraeus told a news conference held during an unannounced visit to the city on Friday that the Taliban would resist attempts to drive them from their havens.

”The enemy is going to take horrific actions to disrupt the progress that Afghan and coalition civilian and military elements are working so hard to achieve,” said Gen Petraeus, whose command includes Afghanistan and Iraq.

”There have been tough moments here in Kandahar in recent weeks – that is well known. And we know that there will be more tough moments in the weeks and months ahead…The enemy fights back, and our experience in Iraq was that it got harder before it got easy.” [...]
”The operation in Kandahar is not going to be a conventional offensive. It is rather precise operations out, around the city,” said Gen Petraeus…

Precise operations…? Speaking of Iraq’s lessons learned by Betrayus, the much ballyhooed Human Terrain Systems guys and gals had painted a bleak picture ahead…

As I’ve noted before…

Know Your Enemy: HTS’s Study Of Pashtun “Tribes”

…In this report, the HTS Afghanistan RRC warns that the desire for "tribal engagement", in Afghanistan, executed along the lines of the recent "Surge" strategy in Iraq, is based on erroneous understanding of the human terrain. In fact, the way people in rural Afghanistan organize themselves is so different from rural Iraqi culture that calling them both "tribes" is deceptive. "Tribes" in Afghanistan do not act as unified groups, as they have in Iraq. For the most part they are not ‘hierarchical’, meaning there is no "chief" for whom to negotiate(and from whom to expect results from). They are notorious for changing the form of their social organization when they are pressured from internal dissension or external forces. Whereas in some other countries tribes are structured like trees, "tribes" in Afghanistan are like jellyfish… [...]

Rough Terrain

Under an experimental program in Afghanistan, teams of anthropologists and social scientists are working alongside soldiers to help win the war by winning over the Afghan people. It may seem like a brilliant idea. But in this battle, nothing is as it seems…

Here’s an excellent Youtube that I could not embed, but, it is a recent,startling, firsthand account on what it’s like on patrol, as Lt. Col. Campbell goes out for his farewell tour of his AO…! Entitled: Colonel Campbell’s War…

Carl Forsberg at the Institute for the Study of War released this blistering critique on the Politics and Power in Kandahar…

KEY FINDINGS
While most actors in Kandahar call themselves tribal leaders, few influential actors in Kandahar derive their influence from this position. Control over guns, money, and foreign support have become more important as sources of power.
• Influential actors in Kandahar nevertheless attempt to maintain influence over the tribal system and often organize their networks, militias, and cartels along tribal lines.
The Karzai family is the key to politics in Kandahar. The Karzai family and the Quetta Shura Taliban have emerged as the most powerful forces.
• Since 2001, Ahmed Wali Karzai has gradually built a powerful empire in Kandahar through the support of foreign backers and by bringing under his influence the province’s key commercial, military, and contracting networks.
• The Karzai family’s leading members, Hamid, Mahmoud, Qayum, and Ahmed Wali, have built significant influence in different spheres, strengthening the family’s power as a whole.
• President Hamid Karzai reassigned Kandahar Governor Gul Agha Sherzai to Nangahar province in 2005, replacing him with Asadullah Khalid, a family ally. This gave Ahmed Wali Karzai informal control of the province.

Kandahar’s political and economic life is dominated by several commercial and military networks.
• Ahmed Wali Karzai is at the center of a number of these networks, and has considerable influence over business life in Kanahar City itself, with significant private security, real estate, and contracting interests.
• His control of private security forces, as well as his influence over contracting firms like Watan Risk Management and Asia Security Group allows him to enforce his political will in the city and exert influence over all business transactions.
• Ahmed Wali Karzai has formed alliances with other key strongmen in Kandahar, who control transit routes and run commercial/military networks. These strongmen include Arif Noorzai, Abdul Razak, and Matiullah Khan.
• Family members and allies of Gul Agha Sherzai run a rival commercial network to Ahmed Wali Karzai’s.
Ahmed Wali Karzai has used his informal power and his connections to the Afghan state to give him shadow ownership of the government of Kandahar.
• Through the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, the Karzai administration in Kabul controls the appointment of provincial governors and district officials, giving it considerable power over local government.
• Given Ahmed Wali Karzai’s influence in Kabul, local government officials understand that challenging Ahmed Wali Karzai’s influence would jeopardize their political futures.
• Local powerbrokers have intentionally kept the official police force weak. This allows them to manipulate the police force to their ends and forces ISAF to rely on their private security companies. Because many of these companies are controlled by or allied with Ahmed Wali Karzai, this ensures both revenue and influence.
The local population sees the government as an exclusive oligarchy devoted to its own enrichment and closely tied to the international coalition.
• Anti-government sentiments are exploited and aggravated by the Taliban. Many of the local powerbrokers who are excluded from Wali Karzai’s network see the Taliban insurgency as the only viable means of political opposition.
• The 2009 presidential and provincial council elections demonstrated that Ahmed Wali Karzai’s popular base in Kandahar was narrowing.
Despite limited popular support, Ahmed Wali Karzai’s maintenance of power rests on three interdependent pillars. These are:
• That the international coalition, despite growing frustrations, will continue to give him de facto support where it matters and will not take actions that challenge his fundamental interests.
• That he will continue to receive critical state backing and continue to control the formal government of Kandahar. He assumes that Hamid Karzai will continue to support him and that the government ministries in Kabul will not challenge his influence due to his brother’s political ascendancy.
• That he will maintain the ability to exert power over locals through his use of force and his control over the provincial economy.

This truly is Obama’s great Afghan Hopey-Changey thing…!

One can pray that there’s not too much bloodshed on all parts…!

In šāʾ Allāh…

by CTuttle

The King Of Kandahar

3:25 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Kandahar and Ahmed Wali Karzai were the focal points of two recent FT articles. The first…

Kandahar ‘king’ poses dilemma for US

…Having emerged as the pre-eminent powerbroker in southern Afghanistan in the past five years, the younger half-brother of President Hamid Karzai now embodies one of the most urgent foreign policy dilemmas for the US.

To his critics, Mr Karzai the chairman of the provincial legislative council, is the don of a “shadow government” of narco-traffickers, gun-runners and militia bosses exploiting a murky nexus of crony capitalism, tribal intrigue and espionage to hijack the Afghan state.

Yet Washington is counting on Mr Karzai to back a push by Nato this summer to beat the Taliban on its home turf by persuading Kandaharis that a new era of responsive government has dawned.[...]

The west’s exit strategy from Afghanistan hinges on building formal government institutions and professional security forces to undercut the Taliban and allow 140,000 foreign troops to leave. To some observers, Mr Karzai’s feif in Kandahar embodies the emergence of a new, personality-driven political order in which the Karzai family occupies centre-stage.

Disaffected Kandahari politicians and elders say resentment of Mr Karzai is the biggest factor driving the growth of the insurgency and that it will be difficult to nurture loyalty for the Afghan state while he remains in the city.

Mr Karzai’s opponents, senior US officials and independent analysts believe he has exploited his chairmanship of the provincial council to favour his family’s Popalzai clan, alienating other Pashtun groups such as the Ghilzai, Alokozai and Alizai. They say a clique of oligarchs and local warlords profiting from US contracts to protect Nato supply convoys has tightened his grip on the city and its hinterland.

“If the offensive goes on while Ahmed Wali Karzai is still there, it will fail,” said Malalai Ishaq Zai, an MP from Kandahar. “There is a very big risk that he will take advantage of it to widen his influence.”

Mr Karzai bristles at such remarks, saying reports of illicit activities are planted by his enemies. He says his only brushes with the law were two speeding tickets in the US. “All the pies that my fingers are in – can you show me a single pie? Is this a cherry pie, or apple pie or banana pie?” he said. “People accuse Her Majesty’s family in Britain. I see the tabloids – these are the tabloids of Kandahar.”

Cue up Ahmed’s response to NATO…

The powerful half-brother of Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, has vowed to back a major Nato operation in Kandahar, dismissing fears in Washington that he will sabotage a crucial phase of the campaign against the Taliban.

Critics accuse Ahmed Wali Karzai, chairman of the provincial legislative council, of presiding over the rise of a mafia-like network of oligarchs, militia commanders and opium traffickers whose attempts to monopolise power in the province have fuelled sympathy for the insurgents.

In a rare in-depth interview, Mr Karzai denied the allegations and pledged to use his influence to rally support for the west’s plan to secure his native Kandahar, the heartland of the Taliban. “Let’s hope for a new beginning. Let’s work together, I want to serve my people,” he said in his fortified villa in Kandahar city, scene of a campaign of insurgent bombings and assassinations. “There were probably some mistakes from my side. I’m trying to clear these things, I’m trying to help.”

Today, Ahmed had this to say about the UN’s pull out…

Ahmad Wali Karzai told reporters Tuesday the decision wasn’t "necessary" since the situation in Kandahar province and the city of the same name is "not that bad."

"Everyone knows that people are going about their business and the kids are going to school," he said. "Pulling U.N. staff out of Kandahar will have negative effect on the morale of people in Kandahar and on humanitarian work here and in the area."

Unspecified "threats" have forced the United Nations in Kandahar city to order its local staff to stay home until further notice.

More than 200 Afghan employees are affected, and several have been moved to the capital, Kabul. But Karzai said "there was no direct specific threat to United Nations here in Kandahar."

The move comes as international forces prepare for a major offensive against the Taliban in the Kandahar region, long a major front in the Afghan war.

Karzai said local officials are working with the Afghan Foreign Ministry to keep the U.N. staffers in Kandahar.

He must be smoking some of his product…!

What a Clusterf*ck…!