AN INTERVIEW WITH AN AFGHAN TRIBAL CHIEF

Interview with An Afghan Tribal Chief

Thoughts on Corruption

By Steven Pressfield | Published: December 4, 2009

SP: Chief Zazai, I’d love to get your take today on the subject of corruption, because so much has been written about it recently in the American press–that cleaning up the Karzai government has become a major priority of the new Obama plan, that benchmarks will now be enforced and so on. The Western media have reported that corruption is simply a part of Afghan life, that it can never be eradicated. What do you say to this? Is it true? Is there a tribal component to corruption?

Chief Zazai: Corruption is something that would never be tolerated by the tribes in a tribal leader. The Afghan code of honor (Nanawatai, Melmastia & Badal) are not just three words. If you look deeply into the tribal structure, corruption is a dirty word and those who take bribes or are involved in underhanded doings are labeled as “Reshwat Khoor,” which is an ugly label. A tribal chief gets elected because his father was a good man and his grandfather and people in the tribe believe he would be a good man. But if an elected tribal chief starts stealing money and is involved in other criminal activities, before he even realizes it, he gets voted out and is replaced by someone else. He is also labeled as a corrupt man and no one respects him anymore.

SP: The tribes of course are separate from the central government. What is happening in the Karzai administration? Can you put it in historical context for us?

Chief Zazai: What’s happening today in the Karzai government is another story entirely. It is completely unacceptable. Afghanistan has gone through many turbulences in the past. Afghan history is written with blood, but from the days of the late King Nadir Khan, corruption has not been a primary feature. Nadir Khan reformed Afghanistan and brought peace and stability to the entire country. His son King Mohammad Zahir Shah ruled Afghanistan honorably for 40 years, and after him Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan worked day and night to develop Afghanistan and corruption was not seen at all as he was a tough guy and many of his cabinet ministers were afraid of him personally. Even when the Afghan Communists toppled Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan’s government, they too were against corruption. But, when the Najibullah regime fell in 1992 and the so-called Mujahideen (meaning the warlords) took Kabul and started fighting each other for control of the country, then the corruption era started in earnest. Ever since, this menace is stuck on the forehead of the Afghan nation.

SP: Where did the Taliban fit into this?

Chief Zazai: When the Taliban seized power in 1995 and took Kabul in 1996, they also were very much against corruption in general. But their top men, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, were heavily involved in the drug trade. From their point of view, they did not believe that exporting drugs out of Afghanistan was any form of corruption, which is why they were openly taxing any kind of drugs which were being exported! But the Taliban did kill the day-to-day corruption in their administration, which is an open secret and everyone knows this too well. After the 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, the same brutal warlords were restored to power and the mother of all kinds of corruption became empowered and received the tacit backing of the West because they had made the bet to sponsor these warlords and to include them in the government. That is why corruption has flourished and now is beyond control.

SP: One of the most egregious examples of corruption that we read about in the press is Hamid Karzai’s brother, who is widely reported to be involved in the drug trade. Can you give us any inside insights on this? If we were sitting down with Karzai and he were talking straight, how do you think he would defend this arrangement?

Chief Zazai: I love America, you know why? Because every criminal has a right to defend himself! Even John Gotti and Al Capone had the chances! Let me tell you something, Karzai and his brothers and his entire Noorzai Mafia know America too well, inside out, and they have always said this openly and loud on BBC, CNN and of course on Al Jazeera. So, I guess it is time that the United States of America proves that Karzai and his brothers along with his Noorzai gang are heavily involved in the drug trade, the land mafia, kickbacks and many large construction contracts. It is time for America to teach some hard lessons to these little boys that they cannot always get away with such crimes. Karzai has openly on Afghan TV defended his brother by accusing the NATO and U.S. Coalition top officers of being involved in smuggling drugs out of Afghanistan themselves. It’s like an accusing game, you accuse me and I will turn around and accuse you and this will continue forever!

SP: The most pernicious form of corruption is when officials, whose role it is to protect the people, instead use their positions of power to exploit the people. How widespread is this sort of abuse in Afghanistan? What forms does it take?

Chief Zazai: This might take many chapters to cover, but let me explain where the main corruption is taking place and where this really starts. We have the government corrupt officials and we have the NGO or white collar corrupt staff.

First, the Government Officials. This starts right from the top men, for example, the Minister of the Interior is getting ready to appoint a Provincial Police Chief for a key province, meaning a province that is ripe for exploitation–one which is more developed commercially and has more population or dominates one of the main import routes from Pakistan, Iran & Central Asia. What happens? Usually the minister would only appoint a person who can pay from half a million to a million U.S. dollars to obtain this key lucrative position. When the individual pays such amount to the Interior Minister and gets the job, from day one his main objective is to make back the money he paid as a bribe to the minister and make two and three times more for himself. Now the pressure “rolls downhill” to the district police chief and that’s how the whole system gets polluted. Anyone who can pay will get away with any crime in the district, provincial and capital level, which means every crime has its price and these brokers wear the uniforms of police, whose sworn constitutional duty is to protect the people, but in this case their real job is to rob the people and steal from them using the police power. So, the corruption in this case is from top to bottom, and maybe the minister might be giving a share of the loot to the President, his immediate family or his agents.

The second big kind of corruption is white-collar or NGO [Non-Governmental Agency] corrupt officials or staff. Every contract given to a private construction company comes with a price tag. Ten, fifteen, twenty and in some cases 25% is paid up front to the person who has the authority to give these contracts to companies and the company who gets awarded pays the above percentages to that particular official. This practice is very common and it is done the way that it is almost legal and it is okay to do. Then the company who got the contract with paying the 25% up front sells the same contract to another company for 5 or 10% profit and makes the second company the subcontractor. The subcontractor then turns around and sells the same contract to another company for 5% or 10% profit and makes that company as a sub-subcontractor. In some cases it is even worse, in that almost 60% is paid in kickbacks and the final contractor is left with only 40% to complete the job! How the hell can anyone build a building with 40% left over and expect to make a profit as well?

A few years ago, USAID was trying to build 250 BHUs (Basic Health Units) around Afghanistan. The initial fund to build such BHUs was $250,000 per BHU. Later USAID found that only $25,000 was spent per BHU! In each BHU $225,000 was taken by the contractors! Can you imagine the extent of corruption? It is absolutely unbearable and if things continue the way they are, it is going to be impossible to succeed in Afghanistan.

SP: Can you talk about the emotional effect such abuses of power have on regular everyday people? Does witnessing such corruption drive them to consider siding with the Taliban?

Chief Zazai: Yes. I think when a person cannot earn a loaf of bread, while he is witnessing all this injustice by government officials and corrupt NGO, U.N. staff and so forth, then I believe it is only human for a father or head of the family to go anywhere where he could earn something for his family and kids. A tiny corrupt minority takes advantage of these vast amounts of money while the majority doesn’t get a fraction of it. I think this is an encouraging situation for many to join the Taliban to fight for something which they believe is rightfully theirs.

Posted in Agora, An Interview with an Afghan Tribal Chief

9 Responses to “Thoughts on Corruption”

  1. Jim Gourley
    December 4, 2009 at 11:25 am

    General McChrystal, in his report to the President, unequivocally stated his earnest belief in two things:

    - That the US Center of Gravity is the ability to provide for the people of Afghanistan via the Afghan Government

    - That it is critical to gain the initiative from the insurgency within the next twelve months if we are to have any hope of success in Afghanistan.

    I’m not sure if McChrystal meant twelve months from the release of his report or from the time he received whatever additional resources the President deemed prudent. Regardless, even if the clock doesn’t start for another four to six months (when he should be getting the bulk of his surge forces), is it possible to even stem the enemy’s momentum if we must first reduce corruption in the government? Given my experiences observing the speed with which anything actually gets accomplished, I’m going to say he’s behind the eight ball.

    McChrystal characterizes the insurgency as three distinct guerrilla efforts with overlapping webs of criminality, tribal conflicts, and political rivalries. His enemy feeds into the resource he affirms is necessary to fight it, and vice versa. It almost sounds like he’s invented “the Afghan finger trap”. Culling corruption from the government will necessarily leave it weaker to deal with the insurgency. While the merit of “fixing” the government is that the damage is only in the short term, it is that very short term during which McChrystal asserts he must use the government to accomplish things.

    I wonder what Chief Zazi would characterize as the greater of the two evils:

    - “Use” the government, in its corrupt state, in the context of the strategy to provide for the people so as not to falter in that critical capability.

    - Crack down hard on the corruption at the expense of Taliban “shadow governments” and military elements gaining ground.

    • Chief Zazai
      December 4, 2009 at 4:23 pm

      Dear Jim, When I talk about the Tribes, many strting to think “Power”, but let me explain to you the role for the tribes to play at this very moment in Afghanistan: The Tribes in Afghanistan as you know well played a significant role throughout the Afghan History. In the past, yes the Tribes ruled Afghanistan, but things slightly changed when the Late King Nadir Khan took over. The Tribes were made to support the King’s Kingdom and save it from a division as well as bring in peace which lasted almost 44 years.
      The Tribes do not have any desire to be ministers, President and Vice Presidents, but yes I think it’s their right to be in the Parliament, Senate, Provincial Councils, District Councils and Village Councils because these instituitions are created to have the representatives of the people not gangsters, criminals and thugs which we are witnessing today in Afghanistan!
      When the Tribes starts to back the government, means end of Taliban Era, Yes it’s that simple, but the Politicians and Some Afghan experts in Washington has talked so much about Afghanistan & it’s problems that made the situation rather confusing for themselves to better understand what needs to be really done on the ground.
      This Present Afghan regime is weak, President Karzai made compromises on priciples and promissed high positions to those warlords who are the main cause of US, NATO & Karzai’s failuer, I do not have much hopes that Karzai would become so powerful over night to tackle all the issues.
      One would ask, where willd President Karzai starts cleaning from? From his Brothers, immediate family? Immediate friends? His first and 2ned Vice President? Where will he start this cleaning up?
      Corruption is always fought “Top Bottom” and security is always maintained and brought “Bottom Up”, in this case some serious steps needs to be taken by Mr Karzai if he wants to see himself in office in a year’s time but I doubt he will!
      It is all still not lost, Washington has and needs to get the support and backing of the Tribes if they really wants to see an End to Taliban.
      Clean uncorrupted center and Provincial governemnts is the key to wining hearts & minds in Afghanistan, that would mean better living conditions for people, better employment oppertunities, safe enviroment for the Afghans to live and work for the future of their country and better investment oppertunity.
      Protecting just a handful thugs & criminals and upsiting 30 or 35 million Afghan population is certinally not a smart strategy!
      Many Thanks
      Chief Ajmal

  2. RP9
    December 4, 2009 at 11:44 am

    If the chief is correct, did the US let the sandbox become corrupt on accident, or on purpose?

    Is this the old cartoon where Johnny America straps on a flag-cape, bombs the sandbox to shit, installs a puppet government, trys to teach it to do tricks, only to realize that Frankenstein awoke with a raging cock and is trying to eat Tokyo?

    Steven, I don’t suppose you’ve got an extra Deus Ex Machina in your pocket…?

    • Chief Zazai
      December 4, 2009 at 4:40 pm

      I do not believe the intension was so. The Iraq war took the US attention away from Afghanistan and the escalation of war in Iraq forced Washington to focus on Iraq rather Afghanistan & that I believe contributed some ignorance towards Afghanistan.
      32 Billion USD spent on Afghanistan, lives on both fronts have been lost, I do not believe it is all planed to happen as so. Yes, mistakes took place and mistakes happend because of lack of the understanding of the Afghan history.
      Empowering the Warlords was a severe mistake in 2001, putting a weak governemnt made mainly on a compromise theory was a huge mistake and ignoring the fact that the small pocket resistances of Talibans were gaining momentum back in 2004 and on was the sway of mistakes which folowed one after another.
      I can state this very openly that the entire nation of Afghanistan is not Taliban nor they support the Taliban. In some parts of the country, Taliban are strong because local Tribes are partially cooperating with them and mostly because of fear and that does not mean they supports them.

      Chief Ajmal

      • Jim Gourley
        December 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

        Chief Zazai,

        McChrystal quotes Defense Minister Wardak as saying:

        “Victory is within our grasp, provided that we recommit ourselves based on lessons learned and provided that we fulfill the requirements needed to make success inevitable. I reject the myth that Afghanistan is a ‘graveyard of empires’ and that the US and NATO effort is destined to fail. Afghans have never seen you as occupiers, even though this has been the major focus of the enemy’s propaganda campaign. Unlike the Russians, who imposed a government with an alien ideology, you enabled us to write a democratic constitution and choose our own government…”

        My questions:

        - Isn’t the model of the Afghan national government, which is based on the western concepts of democracy, an alien model? I believe that the tribal model, as you describe it, allows for a great degree of representation and voice in the decision-making process… perhaps even more than our own in some ways. Do you agree with Minister Wardak that the current Afghan Government has come into existence free of US imposition?

        - Though the tribes want to be free of the tyrrany of criminals and gangsters in the national government, will pushing them out of the government totally liberate you of them? They were criminals and gangsters before they were leaders, and they will remain so after they lose power. Are you convinced that such elements can have absolutely no influence on you at the tribal level? Are the tribes completely secure from such men?

        - The warlords were brought in by Karzai and tolerated by the US and NATO because of their power. That power came in combat forces. It was seen as a boon to our effort to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban. It was seen as a liability to us as an “extra” enemy if we turned them against us. It was seen as a “just reward” for the years of effort they put in fighting the Taliban. The consequence of accepting them is the obvious hindrance they’ve caused in the government. Much of the corruption comes from the disputes that have erupted between them. If the tribes were involved in the government in the way you outline, how can we be sure that the same types of corruption and infighting won’t emerge? Tribes certainly have their disagreements, and they’re not always solved easily or peacefully. Is it not a risk to involve them so heavily in government?

        - Do you agree with General McChrystal that, at the very least, things will become much more difficult if not impossible if things are not “turned around” in the short term?

        - Based on your responses and MAJ Gant’s strategies, am I putting the following priorities in the correct order? By order, I mean if I can only do one thing at a time and each item would take me 6 months to accomplish, is this checklist correct?

        1) Establish Tribal Engagement Teams and assist tribes in their local fight against the Taliban and criminals.

        2) Clean up the Afghan government and make it a respectable, principle-driven organization.

        3) Involve the tribes in the Afghan government.

        4) Fight the “big fight” against the Taliban. Focus solely on killing the enemy.

        5) Finalize the organization of a central Afghan government with stronger tribal ties.

        6) Pull the majority of US forces out of Afghanistan, maintain Tribal Engagement Team presence to assist with the remaining Taliban elements.

        Thanks for your responses.

        Regards,
        Jim Gourley

  3. Chief Zazai
    December 5, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Dear Jim, Thank you for your kind attention and interest in our mutual issue. Afghanistan as I said has been through many turbulances throughout the history, starting from Alexander the great to Ghanges khan to the British Raj and then to the Russians Occupation. I partially agree with General Wardak and he is partially right when he mentioned that Afghanistan is not the grave yard of empires! I think many historian will not agree to that, but luckly the United State of America is not an invading empire so no Afghanistan is not the grave yard for America. This Grave yard business was I believe inflamed by the media a bit, but that proves that all nations are not the same and all countries are not the same, so I believe the best way in regrad to Afghanistan would be to understand its rich culture and way of life which woul d then makes it easy on us all.

    Yes, the Russians ruined Afghanistan, killed innocent women, men & Children, that was a horrible episode in the history of Afghanistan which still has deep impacts till date. And it would be unfair to treat the intervention of US & NATO who came to Afghanistan under the UN Charte equally to the Russians invassion.

    I know the worries west had and still has in regard to these warlords, but to cut my argument short here I will state a true story here for you and then you can judge if the US & NATO really lost a chance when they were thinking if they go against these Warlords & criminals would deteriorate the sistuation & creat new battle zones.
    This was 2004 just before the first Presidential elections: I was sitting in the gardenof a powerful Northern Alliance militia leader in the east of Afghanistan having an afternoon tea with him & we were discussing the election and the future governemnt after the elections. In the middle of our conversation he looked at me and told me “Ajmal, all I want from the Americans to take all my wealth and money they have given me, but spare mine and my family’s lives”.
    These warlords were scared to death because they felt that now the US will get us, but when Karzai was put to the throne the first thing he did was to make deals with these criminals and brought them to be part of his regime. Then the Parliamentarian election literaly gave a free hand to all the small time and big time warlords, thugs and criminals to be legitimate, that was another huge mistake.

    We actually lost the oppertunity in 2004 when we could really put Afghanistan on the right track, but the US & NATO could not understand how Afghanistan works, they just saw that people casted votes, Karzai is democratically elected president, the warlords are part of Karzai regime, Taliban small resistance pockets are tinny enough to make any disturbences, all well, in democracy is in place, but how wrong they were was proved only in 2007. I wrote 10, 14 sometimes 20 pages letters to david Simpson who lives in the UK who passed all those letters to the British establishment, but I believe no one bothered to read them. Events went wrong one after another and another and now we are faced with a situation on the ground in Afghanistan as well as in the United States, UK & other NATO countries. It is hard times, very difficult times for us all and we have no other choice but to fight through these hard times together and get out of it, but how? With more and more and more troops? Or with some local ground smart solutions?

    We do not need to be only worried about the turband Taliban here, Iran, Russia, China and of course not to forget Pakistan all are players in this great game, it is on, loud and clear, regardless of accepting it or not, the game is on and it is played by all parties!

    We (United States of America & Tribes) have to play it smart and play it together, because there is still a chance. The complete erradication of Taliban would take sometimes, but to drive them out of towns, villages and valleys into the mountains will be a 50% success almost over night, this is what the Afghan nation wants and I believe the American nation is also wishful.
    The continuation of this useless corrupt regime means more failuers, more casualties on both fronts, this has to end soon at a point, nothing will be achieved if this corrupt weak regime continues. Karzai is good at putting stunts, artificial Loya Jirgas, Anti Corruption Commissions, these are all useless tactics that Karzai played in the past and almsot everyone is aware of.

    As I said earlier and I have said this catagorically that we are in the war zone, we need immediate solutions, we have to get the support of the tribes in order to bring peace and stability first and foremost and then think about the luxury part of introducing democarcy! I am absolutely not against democracy at all, I believe democracy is designed to floourish in a society where the education standard is above 50%, in Afghanistan the education standard is only 20 to 25%, it is a long way to go in order for the Afghans to really understands the true values of a democratic society. I believe democracy should not be just limited to casting votes only, it is important we bring in a governemnt which will be in the position to implement the rule of law, it is no crime to bring about a governemnt in place which protect its citizens from gangsters, criminals and warlords.

    Justice needs to be done, yes sir, these warlords who are part of Karzai’s regime who are in his cabinet, in the Parliament, in the senate, are governors of provinces and are provincial police chiefs have blood of the innocent women, men & children on their hands, as Milosivich and Kordovich, these ugly men needs to be put on trial stands at Hauge and the world should be allowed to see what have these men done from 1992 to 1996, by doing so, the Afghan nation will start to build their long term trust in the US & NATO & this way we will clean Afghanistan from these evil men.

    I absolutely agree with your 6 steps strategy and I hope the US administartion have something as so in mind.

    I agree with Gen McChrystal and his strategy, he is putting all his efforts on ANA and ANP, I think here he needs to put 25% of his efforts in TPF (Tribal Police Force) because this is the immediate quick fix and a local solution which is most needed and on immediate basis.

    Gen Wardak is proven to be useless in past years, the ANA is stuffed with local politics, almost every warlord has a representation in there and one of the reason the ANA is been uselss is because of these dirty hidden politics, if we really wants to see a proper Afghan Army in coming 5 years then the first thing we need to do is to “Kill The dirty politics within the ANA” in other words, ANA can not afford to be the recruiting ground for the former fighters of these notorious warlords, in fact we have got to go back to the old Afghan ways of recruiting the ANA ” Compulsory Service”, by doing so we will then be able to recruit soldiers from across the country not just from north or south or east or west and these top men including Mr Wardak has to go, we have got to bring energitic western educated minister, Wardak is too old.

    By the way, this present Afghan constitution is a one confusing document! I reviewed it in London having 10 top UK lawyers reading it and analysing it and in the end thats what they said ” Chief Khan, This is not the Constitution you want to take your country to the 21st Century”. Well, these comments came from 10 very influential lawyers who has helped many troubled countries like Afghanistan write their constitutions for them, I do not agree with Wardak in fact this useless constitution was drafted to please the warlords and of course protect the President, it looks like it is been written by Mr Karzai for Mr Karzai!

    Jim, I would like to state again here, The tribes are needed to take the control of the present situation by going against the Taliban and Al Qaida in their home towns, villages, districts, valleys, mountains & their provinces, once this task is achieved and a 70% stability is mainatined and brought, these Tribal forces could be easily marinated into the ANA & ANP and this tribal egagement will allow the extra time the ANA & ANP needs to be trained well & equiped, that simple.

    As I mentioned in my previouse reply that Parliament, Senate, Provincial Councils, Distric Councils & Villages Councils are made for the representatives of the people of Afghanistan not for the warlords, criminals, drug barons & thugs, I believe everyone would agree with me on this that we need to creat the atmosphere where the representatives of the people could make their way to these institutions in order to do so we have got to first erradicate the corruption which starts in the UN and then so on because in last Parliamentarian election the many present so called MPs have greaced the hands of UN officials which eabled them to enter the Parliament.

    In my own valley both MPs paid for votes to the locals, used fake women’s cards and paid the UN officials and now they are sitting in the parliament and screaming they are the representatives of the Afghan nation!

    One Warlord who has killed more than 10,000 innocent women, men and children was crying loud in the Parliament a while a go that ” We are the representatives of 30 million Afghans”. This is horrible and disgusting.

    I wana come to the end by stating, If President Obama’s heart is really in the right place and his heart really hurts when he sees Afghan widos & orphands begging on the streets of Kabul despite the Billions were pumped in, see those mothers who are still crying because their loved ones were killed by these brutal warlords, see many young men and women without legs and hands who has lost their precious body parts by the mines these same warlords who are siting in Karzai’s cabinet, parliament, senate & are governors and police chiefs planted to kill people, see the blood of innocent men, women and children on the hands of these warlords, see the unemployed young youth who travels to other countries just to earn a loaf of bread for their families or simply falls in the traps of AQ & Talibans, then Obama has to come out like a lion out of the white house barracades and really help the Afghan nation and put everything right, the history will respect him & shall remeber him well.

    Afghanistan is winable, tactics needs to be changed, better local and ground solutions needs to be used immediately as time is passing fast and we shall then see great success and positive results.

    God Bless you & God Bless America

    Chief Zazai

    • Jim Gourley
      December 6, 2009 at 6:09 am

      Chief Zazai,

      Two questions:

      - How did the warlords rise to power? I do not want to make you write a long history, so I will simplify the question. Was the beginnings of their “armies” based on a lot of money (the ability to pay troops) or did they start out as tribal chiefs with loyal followers?

      - If my checklist is correct and if the corruption in the government and the exclusion of the tribes is THE priority, let me ask this. If that is what I concentrate my effort on over the next six months, what predictions would you make about the actions of the Taliban and Al Qaeda? I assume they will resist our efforts to emplace honest officials and remove men who are favorable to them. Where will they attack and where will they conduct non-violent sabotage actions?

      Thank you,
      Jim Gourley

  4. Chief Zazai
    December 6, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Dear Jim, during the Russians invassion in the 80’s, many Afghan resistance groups were created in Pakistan & Iran to recruit Afghans and utilise the support to fight the Russians. Out of these many hundreds groups only 8 were given the legitimacy by the Pakistani (ISI) to do so & the rest were ordered to join the 8 groups or simply dissolve their groups.

    The war continued against the Russian Troops in Afghanistan but also personal differences grew among these resistance groups leaders which led to armed conflicts against each other. These very different groups in some cases have had enmities which, sadly, resulted in the loss of many freedom fighters & created ethnic enemities. It has sometimes been postulated that these groups have killed more of each other than the Russians ever did.

    The groups leaders were mostly religious scholars not Tribal Chiefs, but they did divide the tribes in a way to suit their desires & needs, for example: The Jamiat i Islami (Rabani) group attarcted mostly Tajiks into the group, The Hezb i Islami (Hekmatyar) group mostly attarcted Pashtuns, the Harakat i Islami (Mohseni) mostly attarcted the Shiat Hazara Tribes, but none of these leaders were Tribal Chiefs in fact the leaders of these 8 groups and the Pakistani (ISI) did not allow any Tribal Chief to form a group of Tribal fighters and continue fighting against the Russians for the liberation of their homeland, if anyone wanted to fight the Russians, they had to fight under the flag of one of these 8 groups if not they were not allowed!

    To Cut things short here, The Russian withdrew their forces and the regime of Dr Najibullah collapsed and these power-hungry men then fought each other over the throne of Kabul. Men who had been small commanders turned into massive Warlords having their own armies and their commands became the orders of the day. These men killed innocent men, women & children, looted people’s livelihoods, raped women, destroyed the infrastructure of Afghanistan and committed crimes against humanity. The deadly civil war went on for five long years, over 60,000 innocent men, women and children were killed and Kabul turned largely into rubble. It is still largely-unknown in the Western world that many of these same Warlords are now sitting in Parliament, are members of the Karzai cabinet and have been appointed as governors of provinces of Afghanistan.

    To answer your 2ned question: I believe this positive step by the United States will be wellcomed by those Taliban leaders who are willing to surrender and join the future Afghan governemnt, but then there are those hard liners who will not surrender & instead they will put conditions after conditions just to play and get more time, we do not need to be in any illusion & fall for their traps in fact we have to fight them in the villages, towns, valleys provinces & mountains hard and loud.

    If the US Army joins partnership with the tribes and programmes such as (TPF) (Tribal Police Force) gets backing and support then I think it is the smart way of refusing shelters, food and safe passages to the insurgents and by doing so not only the US & future Afghan government will bring peace & Stability but also will win the hearts & minds within the communities and any infrustructure work will be also secured by these tribes.

    Without the Tribes, it is impossible to win this war.

    Chief Ajmal

  5. Barekzai
    January 14, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Dear Ajmal Khan Saheb,

    I’ve not been raised in Afghanistan, hence the vivid memories of the motherland stem only from my childhood years. However, everything you’ve said here as well as elsewhere resonates with me as the true, long lost impulse of the Afghan people as described and explained by my father to me. Until now, I was beginning to think the only place for the likes of you were in the figments of our elder’s imagination. Fortunately, you have proven to me that this is not so and it’s refreshing to see a Zazi still defending the nation!

    I must admit however that I am disheartened to learn from you that the Karzai government is indeed as corrupt as the media acknowledges it to be. Your views coincide with those of my cousin who currently serves the Afghan government and who recently described the shenanigans around it as “gorgee-wa-dozdee” (thieving and wolving). Be that as it may, I would be interested to learn however as to why no other leader emerged at the last elections to take on and defeat Karzai at the ballot box? If the Afghan people yearn for leaders they know and trust, then why for instance did they not flock around somebody like Sardar Sultan Mahmoud Khan-e-Ghazi to take on the warlords? From what I’ve learned, he left the United States for Afghanistan a few years back, only to return a disappointed man. So I ask myself, was it because Afghans no longer like or trust their old statesmen, or is it that the Afghan people still cannot exercise their own collective will to choose a leader of their choice? Who is to blame for this predicament if not the Afghan people first and foremost? Are Afghans going to sit back and cry victim like some baighairat from Arabia, who like the Pakistanis, owe their very own existence to French or English colonialism, or are Afghans going to be what they’re born to be as masters of their own destiny? I believe God manifests himself through natural laws in which we are born into, with the wiser among us forming unity with him. God does not however use us as his puppets so we negate all responsibility to him alone, for if that were the case, we would not be judged in the hereafter for our own deeds. Surely we’ve been put on this earth to be responsible men and masters of our own destiny. So why is it I ask that Afghans are still incapable of overcoming those who seek to brutalize and enslave them? I appreciate the fact that there are those such as yourself who are taking the initiative to do just that, though I can’t hide my disappointment that so few appear like you. If there are, then they’ve yet to manifest themselves. May I ask if you could be so kind as to shed some light on this?

    I recognize that Afghans need a foreign ally to help them out of their current predicament and with that, the Americans are the only people on this Earth whom I’d trust, for they wouldn’t know how to be masters and colonizers if they chose to, given that this would betray their very own constitution that many still value as gospel. With this, I pray that you succeed in persuading the allies to better understand Afghans and help you secure the nation’s sovereignty. Da Zmung zeba watan, Da zmung Laila watan, Da Watan Mo Zan Dai, Da Afghanistan!