Karzai's Plan to Utilize Taliban Draws Ire; Military Calls Policy 'Half-Baked'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 14, 2004 | Go to article overview

Karzai's Plan to Utilize Taliban Draws Ire; Military Calls Policy 'Half-Baked'


Byline: John Jennings, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

GHAZNI, Afghanistan - Outside the commander's guest room, soldiers crouched around a paperback-sized shortwave radio in the twilight, listening to a Western news service's Persian-language broadcast.

The report described a campaign trip by President Hamid Karzai to his hometown, Kandahar, the largest city in southern Afghanistan.

During the late April visit, the security-conscious Mr. Karzai, who narrowly escaped assassination there in 2002, inspected highway construction projects - from a helicopter.

The president, who visits Washington this week, also made a speech in which he invited former Taliban militants to join his government, suggesting that only "about 150" top-ranking leaders closest to al Qaeda would be considered unacceptable.

He elaborated in an interview with CNN yesterday:

"With regard to the former Taliban, we want to bring back those Taliban that are not criminals. They're from Afghanistan. They should come back to this country and live a normal life. They should come back away from Pakistan. They should come and stay in Afghanistan. We want normalcy to return to Afghanistan."

In response to Mr. Karzai's latest initiative, the commander - a senior provincial security official - shook his head in disgust.

"Isn't that a half-baked policy?" he said. "We fought to drive out those ignorant [people] and their Pakistani and Arab masters. Now the government is groveling and inviting them back."

Mr. Karzai's effort to bring militants into the fold has not been limited to the Taliban. He also has courted officials of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) faction, whose 1992-95 artillery bombardments damaged much of Kabul and killed about 40,000 noncombatants.

In 2002, HIA chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar allied himself with Taliban remnants and is now thought to be hiding in remote mountains along the Pakistani border.

A delegation of midranking HIA officials, purportedly at odds with Hekmatyar, visited Kabul in mid-May at Mr. Karzai's invitation to discuss participation in the government after elections scheduled for September. But some security officials are questioning the wisdom of cooperating with the group.

"There's no way of knowing whether they have really had a change of heart," said a senior intelligence official in Kandahar.

"It's more likely Hekmatyar is simply pursuing a dual approach, fighting alongside the Taliban in case they get the military upper hand, and meanwhile infiltrating his officials into the government to keep that [political] option open."

"Like the [Irish Republican Army's] 'hard men,'" says David Isby, author of an overview of the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan titled "War in a Distant Country," Hekmatyar's followers "will keep their guns, while trying to get representatives elected to parliament."

Police in the Afghan city of Kunduz said yesterday there were signs that Hekmatyar followers were involved in the killing of 11 Chinese construction workers as they slept last week.

Mr. Karzai, who enjoys the broad backing of Washington and the United Nations, faces no serious opposition in his bid for another term as president in September elections, assuming a credible vote can be held in all parts of the country.

But with little debate, he has assumed autocratic prerogatives such as appointing provincial governors from Kabul instead of allowing local elections.

His latest appointments have included a former HIA commander, Bashir Baghlani, in southwestern Farah province, and a former Taliban collaborator, Kheyal Mohammad, in southeastern Zabul.

The Ghazni official's remarks reflect alarm among Afghans who played the key role in defeating the Taliban and bringing Mr. Karzai to power - the leaders and grass-roots supporters of the Northern Alliance.

Most of its members spent more than two decades battling Soviet, Pakistani and Arab intruders and the Afghans who worked with them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Karzai's Plan to Utilize Taliban Draws Ire; Military Calls Policy 'Half-Baked'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.