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Revealed: Karzai's secret plans to cling on to power in Afghanistan

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  • Revealed: Karzai's secret plans to cling on to power in Afghanistan

    Revealed: Karzai's secret plans to cling on to power in Afghanistan

    Western intelligence report claims President is hoping to change constitution and rule indefinitely
    Kim Sengupta Author Biography

    Bonn

    Tuesday 06 December 2011
    Revealed: Karzai's secret plans to cling on to power in Afghanistan - Asia - World - The Independent
    Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is secretly planning to stay in power when his second and constitutionally final term ends in three years' time, according to a Western intelligence report seen by The Independent.

    Mr Karzai, it is claimed, wants to emulate Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who, similarly blocked from holding office for a third consecutive term, handed the Presidency to Dmitri Medvedev in 2008. Mr Putin is seeking a return to the Kremlin in March.

    The supposed plans of Mr Karzai are set out in a document compiled by Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND. It comes on the day an international summit in Bonn, chaired by the Afghan president, is seeking to chart the future of Afghanistan after Nato ends its combat mission in 2014.

    The disclosure will raise questions in the international community, which is expected to donate up to $10bn (6.4bn) in aid to Afghanistan for a decade after the withdrawal. Mr Karzai is due to leave office in 2014 and there had been hope among Western governments of a fresh start with a successor who would not be dogged by allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.

    The BND report, produced two months ago and marked "top secret", is said to be based on information supplied by Afghan public figures, including allies of Mr Karzai. The Afghan President is believed to be considering holding a loya jirga, or grand council, to change the Afghan constitution and allow him to remain in power.

    It is claimed that Mr Karzai had wanted special dispensation to run for a third term and guide the country through the period of uncertainty following Western military disengagement. However, he was told this would be unacceptable both within the country and internationally. Instead, he has decided to establish the post of prime minister, to which he will aim to be appointed.

    Mr Karzai's first choice for a figurehead president was said to be Burhanuddin Rabbani, a former president of the country. But, following his assassination in September, with the alleged involvement of the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, the Afghan leader is said to have sounded out a number of other potential candidates.

    Foremost among them are former commanders of the Northern Alliance. Negotiations have been held, it is claimed, with Younis Quanoni, the speaker of the lower house in the Kabul parliament; Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a former defence minister and vice-president, and Mohammed Atta Noor, the governor of Balkh province in the north of the country.

    General Atta, who was sent to the north of the country by the Afghan government as a counterweight to the Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, is said to be disinclined to return to the internecine politics of Kabul. The German intelligence service also maintains that Mr Quanoni was at first suspicious of the Afghan president's overtures, believing it was "an attempt to drive a wedge through the Northern Alliance", but that he is now "having second thoughts about it". Marshal Fahim, it is claimed, has been discussing the offer with his officials.

    All three men are Tajiks, while Mr Karzai is from the majority Pashtun community, and thus would provide an electoral ticket with an attractive ethnic mix for Afghanistan.

    Western states, however, will have concerns about the potential running mates: Marshal Fahim had been accused of human rights abuses by US officials. Mr Quanoni and General Atta have been accused of corruption, charges they both deny.

    Although President Karzai has faced frequent criticism from politicians in Western Europe and the US especially following his election victory in 2009, which was mired in allegations of fraud he has shown resilience by staying in power and has taken an increasingly combative stance against Nato, condemning air strikes which have resulted in deaths of civilians and demanding an end to "night raids" in which Taliban targets are captured or killed in their homes.

    Western officials acknowledge privately that, despite concerns about Mr Karzai, there remains a lack of an alternative leader. Javed Ludin, the Afghan foreign minister, insisted yesterday in Bonn that Mr Karzai had no intention of seeking a third term. "I am convinced that he will go when the time comes, after all that is what he has always said." The Afghan president stated on the eve of the conference that he intended to retire in 2014 as "a pensioner and happy citizen".

    The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said at the summit yesterday: "President Karzai has said himself that he will be going in 2014, let us take him at his word." The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said she looked forward to "inclusive, fair and credible presidential elections and a peaceful and democratic transfer of power in 2014".
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  • #2
    lol, why not, he is made right now, us protects and pays him, fake election will get him as many votes as needed. i would too try to rule forever under these conditions,
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" B. Franklin

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    • #3
      Of course, if power was vested in the Parliament, instead of 1 crossover asshole, then it wouldn't really be an issue!
      Ego Numquam

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      • #4
        Sigh...

        Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan
        Michael Hughes' photo
        Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan - National Afghanistan Headlines | Examiner.com

        Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother, Qayum, is the type of guy who watches the Godfather movies not for entertainment purposes, but to learn new techniques. Hence, it is more than a little concerning that President Karzai has reportedly been grooming Qayum to succeed him as the country's next president - a move that could accomplish the impossible by making life even more unbearable for most Afghans.

        I discovered all of this on Friday afternoon during an exclusive discussion with Naseem Pashtoon Sharifi - a business rival of the Karzai family who was forced into exile in the U.S. after Qayum Karzai tried to have him assassinated on more than one occasion.

        Naseem is the editor of the Kandahar-based Surgar Weekly and president of Arakozia Advertising, two of the many industries Qayum has completely dominated despite the fact that monopolies are illegal in Afghanistan.

        Qayum, who has actually lived in Maryland for years, also dominates the construction, logistics and security sectors throughout most of southern Afghanistan. But there isn't a soul willing to challenge Qayum for fear of violent retribution and because of his unrivaled political power, which primarily stems from the fact Qayum is the one who literally appoints most of Afghanistan's cabinet ministers, provincial governors, mayors and police chiefs.

        Qayum's primary companies, Technologist Inc. and Daman Construction, win every government contract without having to deal with the nuisance of free market competition, which allows Qayum to reap healthy margins by, for example, selling $4 million generators to the governor of Kandahar for $50 million.

        Qayum is not above letting the Taliban in on the action either. As 60% owner of the notorious Watan Risk Management firm Qayum has rewarded a number of insurgent commanders with cuts of NATO security and logistics contracts.

        Qayum's control of the media has reduced southern Afghanistan to a de facto totalitarian state. This doesn't seem to bother NATO a bit considering it finances Qayum-owned media outlets which, incidentally, never seem to report anything negative about the Karzai regime.

        Local writers working for reputable news organizations such as BBC, Voice of America and Reuters even have their articles and reports censored by the provincial government.

        Competitors like Naseem who dare resist Qayum's Orwellian censorship are financially choked and brutally intimidated. Recently, Qayum deployed razor-wielding thugs to cut down an Arakozia ad draped across Surgar's office window (see Photo #1), knowing full well that the revenue stream from Naseem's outdoor advertising business funds his newspaper operations.

        Qayum even spray-painted many of Naseem's billboard signs with a red "X" mark to identify them for the Karzai demolition squad (see Photo #2 and Photo #3).

        However, it is fair to wonder who is more at fault - the Karzai crime family or those who gifted them with power in the first place. Because the truth is, back in 2002 the Bush administration allowed a cabal of neoconservative "free market" ideologues, led by Afghan expatriate Zalmay Khalilizad, to install the Western-friendly Karzai as president.

        Then, as the U.S. took its Iraq detour in 2003, it cut Faustian deals with a network of warlords, empowering them with guns and money in an effort to "keep the peace" in Afghanistan.

        According to journalist Douglas Wissing in his new book, Funding the Enemy, once the unholy alliance was forged between the brothers Karzai, rapacious warlords and incestuous multinational corporations, U.S. taxpayer dollars began to "lubricate an entire system of corruption that eventually extended to the Taliban."

        It is interesting to note that before Hamid Karzai became president the Karzai brothers were, for the most part, middle-class small business owners living on average wages. Miraculously, just a decade later, the Karzai family now brings in billions of dollars a year and can suddenly afford to build mansions in Dubai.

        This unearned exuberance comes at the expense of the American taxpayer while a high percentage of U.S. aid never reaches those who need it most. The Karzai family's profligacy seems even more abhorrent when one considers that, according to the UN's Human Development Index, 42% of Afghans live on roughly a dollar a day.

        The reemergence of the Taliban that began in 2005 was not some inevitable development but occurred because Afghan peasants grew weary of watching members of the Karzai family grow rich while they starved.

        "The social injustice, the corruption, the support of thugs and warlords, the assassinations... these are the reasons young Afghans continue to join the Taliban," Naseem said. "More Taliban have been added to the frontline by this [the Karzai] government's brutalities than any ideology."

        Yet Naseem held out hope that the Americans would eventually course-correct. Instead, the coalition has continued to feed and enrich the Karzai syndicate because, according to the conventional wisdom that pervades the DoD and the White House -- no other viable options exist.

        Such an ill-informed mindset has resulted in the cultural, economic and political erosion of Afghan society. Naseem wants the American public to understand that most Afghans are decent people - it is the crooked 1% of the population that has ruined his homeland's good name. And, what is even more maddening, is that this crooked 1% has been fully funded and supported by the United States military.

        Naseem believes beyond any doubt that Afghanistan will never see peace if the U.S. supports Qayum's candidacy and continues to fund the Karzai cartel. He is certain that whichever candidate the U.S. backs will become the next president.

        Naseem explained that the U.S. simply needs to modify its king-making criteria. For example, candidates should be immediately disqualified who possess any of the following attributes: corrupt, homicidal, greedy, untrustworthy and unpopular. And certain categories of persons should be excluded from the process altogether, including known kingpins, warlords, fanatics and war criminals.

        What the Afghans need more than anything is a president who is honest, uncorrupt and willing to put the public interest above private greed. They need someone with blood-free hands who is capable of building inclusive and equitable economic and political institutions. They need a well-respected leader who can garner broad support across Afghanistan's mosaic of tribes, ethnicities and sects. In other words, the last thing they need right now is Qayum Karzai.

        ==

        Mr. Hughes also attends and covers the State Department's
        To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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        • #5
          Gr8 move by the government - head in the sand makes problems go away. God Karzai might just I dunno make us leave or something.

          Karzai Critic in Congress Is Asked to Cancel Afghanistan Visit
          By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and ALISSA J. RUBIN
          Published: April 26, 2012
          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/wo...stan-trip.html
          WASHINGTON — Acting at the behest of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, senior American officials told a California congressman last weekend that he was not welcome in Afghanistan because of concerns that his sharp criticism of Mr. Karzai would undermine Washington’s efforts to rebuild trust with the government and restart preliminary peace talks with the Taliban.
          Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

          U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California.
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          Tobias Schwarz/Reuters

          From (L-R): U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, Afghan Chairman of National Front Ahmed Zia Massoud, and leader of the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum.
          Claro Cortes IV/Reuters

          Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq is the Afghan interim Authority Planning Minister and northern leader of the Hazara ethnic group.

          The congressman, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, has made little secret of his desire to alter the Obama administration’s policies there radically. He has joined Afghan opposition leaders and former warlords in calling for a revamp of the Afghan government into a decentralized, federal state.

          Mr. Rohrabacher contends his approach would create a more stable Afghanistan, and in the process limit what he termed the “corrupt little clique” that surrounds Mr. Karzai. But Afghan and American officials say the result of such an overhaul would be a country divided along ethnic lines and possibly enmeshed in a broader civil war.

          Mr. Karzai has sometimes read Mr. Rohrabacher’s views as those of the government, prompting Mr. Karzai to lean toward his neighbors in Pakistan and Iran and complicating the situation for American policy makers.

          Mr. Rohrabacher has long been actively engaged in the region, and at a meeting in Berlin in January heard a pitch from Afghan opposition leaders and former warlords for heavy weapons like artillery and antitank guns.

          The Afghans said that rearming their old militias made sense in the event that the American drawdown leads to a Taliban resurgence, but Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, who was with Mr. Rohrabacher at the Berlin meeting, said that the congressmen rejected the idea as beyond the scope of their elected roles.

          This week, after Mr. Rohrabacher’s visit to Afghanistan was opposed, Mr. Gohmert led a Congressional delegation to Kabul. The group met with the same people who had attended the Berlin session, three prominent leaders of Afghanistan’s smaller ethnic groups: Abdul Rashid Dostum, an Uzbek; Mohammad Mohaqeq, a former Hazara warlord; and Ahmed Zia Massoud, a Tajik. They were once among the core leadership of the Northern Alliance, a loose confederation that battled the Taliban.

          The Taliban are largely drawn from Pashtuns, Afghanistan’s largest ethnic group, which is concentrated in the south and east of the country, areas where the insurgency is now at its strongest; Mr. Karzai is Pashtun.

          Mr. Gohmert said weapons did not come up this week. But Western officials in Kabul say they believe former members of the Northern Alliance have had similar conversations with representatives of other countries.

          The contretemps over Mr. Rohrabacher’s aborted visit — and the meetings his Congressional colleagues held without him — highlight an often overlooked challenge to the American exit from Afghanistan: how Washington should manage its former northern allies and the smaller ethnic groups they represent, and how or if Mr. Karzai can come to terms with them.

          “Some are rearming themselves, so this shows there is a need for a real political dialogue involving everyone, including people in the north,” said a Western official in Kabul.

          The old Northern Alliance leaders do not pose a military threat to the Afghan government. But they do represent another force in a country that has little history with the kind of strong, centralized government set up under American guidance.

          Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, concerned about how Mr. Karzai would react to meetings between Mr. Rohrabacher and Northern Alliance leaders outside the government, personally asked him not to make the trip. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta relayed a similar message to Mr. Gohmert.

          The Afghan Foreign Ministry said the government was within its rights to request that Mr. Rohrabacher cancel his trip.

          In Washington on Wednesday, Mr. Rohrabacher said in an interview that Mr. Karzai’s behavior “should raise alarm bells for everybody.”

          Mr. Karzai and his supporters “don’t want a discussion about creating a more inclusive government,” Mr. Rohrabacher said.

          He added, “They are making money, and that’s where their power flows from in the present system.”

          Mr. Rohrabacher, whose interest in Afghanistan dates to the late 1980s, said Wednesday that even the Republican leadership in Congress had urged him to back off and told him not to hold hearings on reforming the Afghan government.

          Faizullah Zaki, a spokesman for the National Front for Afghanistan, a political alliance that includes Mr. Dostum and Mr. Mohaqeq, said that people did not have confidence in the Afghan Army or the police, which are to shrink after the NATO combat mission ends in 2014.

          “If the Taliban grow stronger after 2014, there should be ways to enable these forces” — the northern militia, that is — “to stand against the Taliban and stop them,” he said.

          Matthew Rosenberg reported from Washington, and Alissa J. Rubin from Kabul, Afghanistan.
          To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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