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Senlis Council: Afghan Government Throws Out Senlis Council

Karzai’s government has been undermined by failing US policies in Afghanistan

“The policies implemented by the US-led international community over the past five years have not only failed, they have undermined the creation of a legitimate government in the eyes of many Afghans,” said Emmanuel Reinert, Executive Director of The Senlis Council. “The current US administration has demonstrated a spectacular success in regime change, and a spectacular failure in nation building.”

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Karzai’s government has been undermined by failing US policies in Afghanistan

US-led forced poppy crop eradication is fuelling support for rise of Taliban insurgency

US bombing campaigns undermine Afghan population’s support for US troops

Many Afghans perceive that Karzai is being forced to run a ‘puppet government’ for the US

US should confront Pakistan on relationship with the Taliban

LONDON - On the occasion of the Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to the United States, The Senlis Council, an international security and development think tank said that if the crisis situation in Afghanistan is to be defused, the United States administration must dramatically alter its current approach in Afghanistan. The Taliban insurgency, opium cultivation and poverty are all on the rise due to failing US policies.

“The policies implemented by the US-led international community over the past five years have not only failed, they have undermined the creation of a legitimate government in the eyes of many Afghans,” said Emmanuel Reinert, Executive Director of The Senlis Council. “The current US administration has demonstrated a spectacular success in regime change, and a spectacular failure in nation building.”

Senlis said that the five years of compounded failures in Afghanistan from ineffective US-led strategies that provoke anger and dissatisfaction within the Afghan community have actually undermined Karzai’s government because they had not taken into account the needs of the Afghan population. Misguided priorities from the outset meant that the US failed to provide a successful reconstruction programme in Afghanistan.

“Right from 2001, the US-led international community’s priorities for Afghanistan were not in line with those of the Afghan population,” said Emmanuel Reinert, Executive Director of The Senlis Council. “It is a classic military error: they did not properly identify the enemy. The first enemy is poverty.”

Window of opportunity for creating a durable peace opened in 2001 is closing now
- Many Afghans have not seen their lives change for the better since the US-led invasion in 2001. Despite the international community’s assurance that it is there to help, according to Senlis field workers’ interviews, much of the Afghan population considers the situation worse now than five years ago. Locals have seen crop eradication destroy their livelihoods and their villages being bombed, which has resulted in lost support for the Karzai government in favour of the Taliban.

Karzai is rapidly loosing support due to destructive US policies
- Initially, Karzai was an admired leader, but his popularity in the south is steadily being lost through no fault of his own as he is perceived to be linked to US interventions such as crop eradication or the bombing of civilians.

“This has meant that Karzai and his government are bearing the brunt for what are essentially failures of the US approach,” said Reinert. “The increasing number of civilian deaths and injuries from the US bombing campaigns in the South has directly contributed to the disintegration of the local population’s support for the international community and its’ troops, and decreased support for President Karzai and his government.”

“Prioritising the ‘war on terror’ over the ‘war on poverty’ has recreated the exact situation we intended to deal with in southern Afghanistan,” said Reinert. “It has recreated the safe haven for terrorism that the 2001 invasion aimed to destroy.”

“When you first came here we were so glad to see you. Now we have lived with you in our country for five years and we see you tell a lot of lies and make a lot of false promises. You are very good at telling lies to your own people as well. Maybe we don’t care if you decide to tell lies to each other about what you are doing in our country, but don’t expect us to believe them.” a villager from Kandahar province is quoted as saying in Senlis Afghanistan’s recent report, Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban.

The three US policies which have provoked the most anger in Afghanistan are forced poppy crop eradication, the bombing and raids of civilians and villages, and the lack of real economic assistance at the local level. The researchers found that the US-led international community was welcomed in 2001 but as a result of these damaging policies and wrong policy sequencing, the window of opportunity for a positive collaboration that was open in 2001 has for the most part been closed. Now Afghans in the south believe that the US is in fact running a puppet government in Kabul - like the Russians before them - and that President Karzai is being politically forced by the US to accept these destructive policies.

Poverty relief and starvation response must be top priority
- Misplaced priorities from the US-led international community have led to widespread poverty and a growing hunger crisis in southern Afghanistan. Senlis field researchers discovered that makeshift refugee camps have been springing up across the southern half of Afghanistan - some just 30 minutes from international military bases.

In these unregistered camps, where foreign aid workers have never been seen, a starvation crisis has taken a grip, especially among the young. “I took my child to the graveyard, my child died of hunger. There are children dying here,” said a man in one of these camps in Kandahar City.

“Hunger leads to anger and resentment. People think the international community is doing nothing to help them,” said Reinert. “This situation plays directly into the hand of the political propaganda of Al Qaeda and the Taliban - the West vs Islam. To counteract this, we need to positively engage with the local populations to prove we are there to help.”

Comparing some areas of Afghanistan to ‘scenes more usually found in poverty-stricken Africa’, Reinert stressed the need to make poverty relief the top priority if reconstruction efforts are to be successful in the country.

“Up until now, the international community’s efforts have not effectively addressed the true needs of the Afghan population,” said Reinert. “What the majority of Afghans in rural communities need is food and water. An immediate injection of poverty relief must be the top priority. If a stable, prosperous Afghanistan is to be built and the Karzai government supported, the Afghan people need to be helped, not hindered - and they need to be a part of that effort. ”

82 billion USD spent on military operations compared with just 7 billion on development
- Under US leadership, development and poverty relief have taken a back seat - until now, military spending has taken priority, with 82 billion USD spent on military operations in Afghanistan since 2002, compared with just 7 billion USD on aid and development. The US military forces should be used to supply security for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) projects to provide development aid in Afghanistan, especially in the south, where poverty levels are extreme.

“You spent millions of dollars on this election and nothing on food for the poor,” the member of parliament for Helmand province is quoted as saying about the parliamentary elections of last year, in the latest Senlis report.

Poverty-relief should be a priority from a humanitarian point of view, and should also be used to create a positive response to the US military presence in Afghanistan. World Food Programme have warned that 2.5 million people are facing food shortages if they do not receive assistance, and the United Nations and the Afghan Government launched a joint appeal in July for US $76 million. This is a request they have been making repeatedly to the international community.

“USAID does excellent work all over the world,” said Reinert. “In Afghanistan their impact is being hindered because their work is not considered to be the absolute first priority.

The United States should stop forced poppy eradication - it has directly contributed to the rising levels of insurgency and to the starvation crisis
- The forced eradication of poppy crops - one of the main counter-narcotics strategies used in Afghanistan at present and heavily backed by the US - should be stopped.

“The United States should stop pushing for poppy-crop eradication,” said Reinert. “It is a failing, destructive policy and is also largely responsible for the starvation crisis and the return of the Taliban in the South.

“The eradication campaigns created hostility towards the US and NATO Coalition troops in Afghanistan and are endangering their missions there,” said Reinert.

Many Afghan farmers have turned to the Taliban who are offering protection to farmers from forced poppy eradication. In this way, support for the Taliban has increased. Senlis Afghanistan field researchers found that the Taliban now have de facto control the southern half of Afghanistan, and the US policies in Afghanistan are directly responsible for the resurgence of the Taliban.

Pakistani elements behind resurgence of Taliban
- Although many of the new Taliban are young Afghans recruited from the disillusioned districts of the southern provinces, there is substantial Taliban funding, training and support from Pakistani elements.

Economic and social indicators show a dramatic increase in de facto control from Pakistani insurgent elements in some areas of the Pashto Belt - the Southern half of Afghanistan, with little political response from the US.

“The vacuum created by the loss of confidence in the international community and control of the central government provides the opportunity for certain pro-Taliban Pakistani elements to step in and gain control,” said Reinert. “The US and Pakistan are supposedly close allies: The US should confront Pakistan directly on their relationship with the Taliban. The US should place more pressure on Pakistan to clamp down on the Taliban support bases in Pakistan and resolve this issue.”

Link to the latest Report - Afghanistan Five Years Later: The Return of the Taliban
- http://www.senliscouncil.net/modules/publications/014_publication

Photographs and video material from the Report are also available for use by the media. See photos at:
- http://www.senliscouncil.net/modules/publications/014_publication/photo_lib­­rary

See video at:
- http://www.senliscouncil.net/modules/publications/014_publication/photo_lib­­rary/dvd_extracts

Contact Europe:
- Jane Francis
- Office : +33 (0)1 49 96 63 70
- Mobile : +33 (0)660 261 982
- francis at senliscouncil.net

  • Le Conseil de Senlis avait suggéré un usage légal de l'opium afghan pour des applications médicales.
published Friday 20 October 2006 01:45

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Senlis Council: Afghan Government Throws Out Senlis Council
Thanks for posting this Jay. Loved mieteng you and working together. I’m sad I wasn’t able to catch Tory to exchange contact info before she left Saturday, can you help me get in touch with her?Good luck in November!

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23 July 2012 by UbTOdoACaV