By Mohammad Mazhari

Afghans are cynic about the U.S. policies in their country: analyst

November 29, 2020 - 12:34

TEHRAN – An Afghan analyst says that the United States failed to establish peace and stability in Afghanistan after two decades of devastating war, which made the people “cynic about the U.S. policies in their country.”

Noting that the “people of Afghanistan are cynic about the U.S. policies in their country, Qassem Akhzarati tells the Tehran Times that “the pessimism is growing every day, and this has raised doubts about the credibility of the United States in the minds of the people.”
Amid the pessimism toward the U.S., Afghanistan also suffers from systematic corruption.

On the first day of the Afghanistan 2020 Conference in Geneva, Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh addressed the country’s administrative challenges and the international community's responsibilities, saying that “every time the Afghan government steps in to fight corruption, it faces pressure from the international community for political compromise.”

The following is the text of the interview:
Q: Why did Saleh Amrullah Saleh, the first vice-president of Afghanistan, in his speech at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference in Geneva refer to corruption in Afghanistan? What are the main causes of corruption in the central Asian country?

A: Saleh's remarks can be somewhat accurate, as corruption is institutionalized in Afghanistan for several reasons and factors. These factors have both internal and external dimensions. Although the Afghan government has taken steps to fight corruption and set up a committee in this regard, which can be a positive approach, one of the main causes of corruption in the Afghan system is insecurity, which has been increasing the vulnerability of the Afghan government in the fight against corruption. 

Insecurity has exacerbated corruption and undermined the rule of law. Another factor is that much of the international community's aid in the last two decades has not reached the Afghan government directly and has been given to nongovernmental institutions and NGOs.

 This factor has led to intensifying corruption through the increasing institutions funded by the international community. Accordingly, internal and external factors are important. 

The aid of different countries has not been transparent and there has been corruption in delivering aid; and also inside Afghanistan, opportunists have taken advantage of the chaos and fueled the current corruption.
 In a word, the most important cause of corruption in Afghanistan is the spread of insecurity, which has weakened the rule of law. The second issue is the fault of the international community when it decided not to give the aid directly to the government.

Q: How do you assess the U.S.-Taliban peace talks? Why did the U.S. start a devastating war if it could negotiate with the Taliban?

 A: That is the question of the Afghan people. They ask if the United States was to negotiate with the Taliban, why it did not do so from the beginning. 

The people of Afghanistan are cynical about the U.S. policies in their countries, and this pessimism is growing every day, and this has raised doubts about the credibility of the United States in the minds of the people.

 Washington was not honest when it called for the fight against terrorism and combatting drug trafficking in Afghanistan, and after nearly 20 years of futile war terrorism is on the rise and the Taliban is gaining more and more influence. These are the questions the Afghan people are asking the U.S. administration. 

What we see on the ground is more damage to Afghanistan. The agreement between the U.S. and Taliban has neither been helpful to inter-Afghan talks nor has it paved the way for practical action to bring stability and security to Afghanistan. These talks in Doha continue without any progress or achievements, and that is why the view of the Afghan people towards these talks is negative.

The United States could have done better in Afghanistan to avoid such a predicament, but today we see that the Americans were not honest in their dealings with the Afghan government, President Donald Trump proved that America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. Americans sat down at the negotiating table today with the Taliban, while they sowed a deep hostility toward them for a long time. Nevertheless, we hope that this process, which is going on in Doha, will come to fruition, despite the pessimism and the negative view.

Therefore, some insecurity in Afghanistan has internal and regional roots, and some neighboring countries are somehow accused of increasing instability in Afghanistan. 

Here the role of Pakistan and its record in supporting the Taliban is very clear. We hope that Afghanistan's neighbors will show goodwill and contribute to lasting peace and security in the country so that the U.S. presence in the Middle East (West Asia) is not justified. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is in everyone's interest. At the end of the day, U.S. honesty has been called into question by everyone, while Washington’s intervention in Afghanistan has not had tangible results for peace, even in fighting drug trafficking.

Q: What are the results of international conferences on Afghanistan? How can Afghanistan reach a final solution for peace?

A: Undoubtedly, Afghanistan is a country that has been at war for more than four decades where violence is taking lives every day while the support by the international community can be vital for Afghanistan. Despite some criticisms over these conferences, they have been fruitful, especially its support for Afghanistan's reconstruction, the rule of law, democracy, and the establishment of government institutions.

Inter-Afghan dialogue is a basic principle, but to continue the process of talks, the notion of a republic can be a comprehensive and encompassing factor. Unfortunately, various countries, including some of Afghanistan's neighbors, consider an important position for the Taliban, known as a terrorist group among the Afghan people. Even Russia, Arab countries, and the United States have played a role in shaping this attitude.

In an inter-Afghan dialogue, one side cannot be the Afghan government and the other the Taliban. The Taliban are a small, destructive and criminal group that has been mercenaries for other countries; they are not independent and are backed by foreign intelligence services, especially Pakistan, which has traditionally supported and helped the Taliban for years. 

That is why the Taliban cannot claim achievement when we see the amount of killing and destruction they have caused in Afghanistan. We expect the international community and the countries involved in peace talks in Afghanistan to help integrate the Taliban into the Afghan political system under the rule of a democratic system. If the Taliban is truly independent, they can engage in the policy-making process, compete in the political scene, and come to power through elections. 

A democratic system gives the Taliban this opportunity and paves the way to play a political role. But it is not acceptable for the Taliban to apply foreign plots to destroy Afghanistan and to be a gathering place that attracts terrorists from other countries. The issue of security in Afghanistan has a multidimensional complexity, and all countries need to help and show goodwill if they are really seeking peace and stability in Afghanistan. Therefore, at the first step, the pressure of the international community should be focused on Pakistan to stop supporting the Taliban and help the Afghan government.

Besides, the wrong policies of the United States contributed to destabilizing Afghanistan. 

Q: Who are the main supporters of the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has been very vulnerable in terms of security in recent years. Increased insecurity has led to numerous terrorist groups to enter the Afghan territory and make every effort to kill people and destroy Afghanistan. People in Afghanistan point the accusation finger at Pakistan for supporting the Taliban. International bodies in the region and all around the world know well that Pakistan has provided logistical, training, and military support to the Taliban and that Pakistani mullahs and Taliban religious centers and schools are mostly located in Pakistan.

But why U.S. policy has changed and how it sits at the negotiating table with a terrorist group could indicate that Americans even enter into dialogue and agreement with terrorists to secure their interests.

Financially, it was some Arab regimes that backed the Taliban, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and provided significant aid for extremist groups in Afghanistan.

But ISIS is not an Afghan phenomenon. It is just in line with the policies of the Pakistani intelligent service.

Q: Why has Afghanistan become a scene for competition between other countries?

The competition of different countries in Afghanistan is clear to everyone; Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India, and Iran. Overall, various countries and international mafias are benefiting from the war in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, war is beneficial for some countries, especially for the mafias; Afghanistan has turned into a good opportunity for crime groups and mafias both in terms of drug trafficking and because of its mines and mineral infrastructure.  

The views expressed by the interviewee don’t necessarily represent those of the Tehran Times

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