The 21st Century Phenomenon



Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president Hamid Karzai, is a controversial figure who has been accused by some Western media outlets of involvement in Afghanistan’s huge drugs trade (see – Opiums kingdom) for years. He strongly denies the allegations (see – Karzai 05.18.09 ).

 According to the New York Times, on Tuesday 10/27/2009, Ahmed Wali Karzai, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency – CIA, and had for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The CIA paid Ahmed Wali Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the CIA’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Ahmed Karzai’s home and stronghold and the former home town of Mullah Omar.

The CIA’s practices suggest, indeed, that the USA is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.

More broadly, some American officials argue that the reliance on Ahmed Wali Karzai, the most powerful figure in Southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency is strongest, undermines the American push to develop an effective central government that can maintain law and order and eventually allow the United States to withdraw (see – Afghan Failing-State).

At the start of the Afghan war, Operation Absolute Justice, American officials paid warlords with questionable backgrounds to help topple the Taliban and maintain order with relatively few American troops committed to fight in the country. But as the Taliban has become resurgent and the war has intensified, Americans have increasingly viewed a strong and credible central government as crucial to turning back the Taliban’s advances.

Now, with more American lives on the line, the relationship with Hamid Karzai is sparking anger and frustration among American military officers and other officials in the Obama administration. They say that Ahmad Karzai’s suspected role in the drug trade, as well as what they describe as the mafia-like way that he lords over southern Afghanistan, makes him a malevolent force.

But the tactic of secret payrolls is in the shadow of any American war whether it is Vietnamese and Laos’ tribe leaders in the 70s’ or Iraqi tribal leaders nowadays (see – Awakening Councils). Even the bitter enemies of USA in Afghanistan, Jalaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, were on the CIA payroll 20 years ago. Just few weeks ago the Italian press revealed that the Italian intelligence paid off local Taliban leaders for not attacking Italian troops near Kabul. When the Italian troops were replaced by French soldiers, the Italian intelligence failed to update the French over their “special arrangement”. Some expert argued later that it provoked the 08/2008 ambush on French troops, which resulted in the death of 10 French soldiers (see -Kabul 08.19.08).

In the last weeks, advisers of the USA president Barack Obama leaked that the new strategy, now under consideration, will include payment to Taliban warlords, which obviously are also druglords, if they will switch sides to fight with USA forces against the Taliban. It is almost certain that some of those war-druglords will mislead and deceive the USA and re-switch sides. In any case USA will be obliged, most likely, to ignore and overlook the drug trafficking as a basic condition of any tribes-leader in Afghanistan to cooperate with USA. The payroll method clearly undermines the rule of law and the function of the central administration in Afghanistan as well.      

Each war has its dark side and the Afghan war is not an exception – on the contrary it is a model.  

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