They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Karzai grabs a tiger by the tail

asiatimes: Afghan President Hamid Karzai has commandeered the political debate in his country just as important issues are poised to come to the forefront concerning the country's political setup and constitutional processes following the parliamentary and provincial council elections of September 18.

Karzai has seized the three-week interlude before the outcome of the elections will be known for channeling the political debate. But is it feasible to ignore the warning signs regarding Afghanistan's highly uncertain political future?

Ostensibly, Karzai has become a dissenter sniping at the US-led "war on terror" in Afghanistan. Surely, that is big-time news. He told the international media in Kabul on Tuesday, "The nature of the war on terror in Afghanistan has now changed to a point that I don't think there is a big need for military activity anymore." Specifically, he said, "The use of air power is something that may not be very effective now." And he added, "No coalition forces should go to Afghan homes without the authorization of the Afghan government."

Karzai has justified his call for a change in approach on the part of the US-led coalition forces on the grounds that "Afghanistan now has a constitution, a president, a parliament and a nation fully participating in its destiny," and secondly, "We do not think there is a serious terrorism challenge emanating in Afghanistan."

In an apparent reference to Pakistan's continued support of the Taliban, Karzai also counseled the US military that henceforth it should focus on cutting off the flow of militants by concentrating "on where the terrorists are trained, on their bases, on the supply to them, on the money coming to them". The largely peaceful conduct of last week's elections itself held, in Karzai's estimation, the "proof" that al-Qaeda had been conclusively defeated in Afghanistan. Read more