|Controversial plan to split up Afghanistan
||BRIAN BRADY , JONATHAN OWEN
Afghanistan could be carved into eight separate "kingdoms" – with some of them potentially ruled by the Taliban – according to a controversial plan under discussion in London and Washington.
Code-named "Plan C", the radical blueprint for the future of Afghanistan sets out reforms that would relegate President Hamid Karzai to a figurehead role.
Devised by the Conservative MP and Foreign Office aide Tobias Ellwood, it warns that the country faces a "bleak" future when it is left to fend for itself. Mr Ellwood claims that a "regionalised" state under a powerful new prime minister would tackle the weak government, tribal disputes and corruption which many fear could plunge Afghanistan into chaos when the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) withdraws at the end of 2014.
Senior government sources confirmed that Plan C – Finding a political solution to Afghanistan had been presented to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and discussed with officials at the White House. Mr Ellwood, a former captain in the Royal Green Jackets, has also discussed the plan with Pakistani government officials in London.
But experts criticised the attempt to "impose" a democratic system on Afghanistan, and insisted that coalition leaders should be concentrating on a military exit strategy that would enable them to withdraw their forces by the 2014 deadline.
Wazhma Frogh, executive director of Afghanistan's Research Institute for Women, Peace and Security, said: "Who is the British MP sitting in London and deciding for Afghanistan? It should be us, the people of this country, deciding if we want to divide into states or collapse as a nation. I am surprised to see an MP of a democratic country creating the future and showing solutions for a country in which he doesn't have to live and where his children will not have to live."
Mr Ellwood, who now works as a parliamentary aide to the Foreign Office minister David Lidington, claimed a political settlement – even one that includes the Taliban – was necessary to guarantee Afghanistan's long-term stability.
"Isaf may be confident that its revised security strategy is finally working, but the insurgent threat will not be removed by force alone," he said in the report, seen by The Independent on Sunday. "The Taliban will not enter into a meaningful dialogue if there is no feasible political strategy within which they can participate... An alternative solution [offers] a less centralised political structure that better reflects the ethnic make-up of the country, the already established economic hubs and the regional interest of the Taliban, who might then be encouraged towards a political settlement."
The plan divides Afghanistan into eight zones, based around the "economic hubs" of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bamyan. The areas would be administered by a council representing different ethnic groups and overseen by one or more foreign countries. Mr Ellwood also claims that creating a post of prime minister, with many of the "disproportionate" powers currently held by the President, would help allay concerns over the man who has been in charge of the country for almost eight years.
But Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, said: "Splitting the country into such regions will result in the empowerment of what we have started calling 'local (or regional) power brokers' and what was known as 'warlords' before, whose misrule between 1992 and 1996 caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place."
UK’s legislator, Tobias Ellwood, has recently proposed a new plan for Afghanistan. Ellwood’s plan suggests that after 2014 the political structure in Afghanistan should be changed and a decentralized government should be established in the country. Ellwood suggests that Afghanistan should be divided into eight zones whose centres would be in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bamyan. Each zone would be controlled by a council represented by ethnic tribes. Every zone would be directly influenced or supported by one or several countries, for example, Mazar-i-Sharif by Russia and Germany and Herat by Iran and France. In addition to a president, Ellwood’s ideal Afghanistan would have a prime minister too. According to the plan which Ellwood calls it Plan C, the control of a number of areas, such as Kandahar and its neighbouring provinces would be given to the Taliban. Plan C recommends that the size of the Afghan army should be considerable small. Ellwood concludes that if President Karzai agrees with his plan, Karzai should be allowed to remain as president for the third term.
|Controversial British plan to ‘divide and rule’ Afghanistan
A Tory MP proposes hacking up Afghanistan into separate “kingdoms”, each ruled by a foreign power, and to include members of the Taliban.
The plan is the brainchild of conservative MP and Foreign Office aide Tobias Ellwood, a former army captain in the Royal Green Jackets, and is already under discussion in London and Washington, according to a report which was seen by the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday.
The report puts forward a regionalized state under a powerful new prime minster and would attempt to deal with weak government, corruption and tribal disputes, which have plagued Afghanistan.
The blueprint – which has been labeled Plan C – is to split Afghanistan up into eight zones based around the economic hubs of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bayman.
The areas would then be governed by a council representing different ethnic groups and overseen by one or more foreign countries; in the same way that Berlin was run after the Second World War.
Other options being considered include Plan A, to turn Afghanistan into a smoothly functioning democracy and Plan B, to hand the war over to the Afghan security forces, which would be overseen by American military advisors.
Ellwood warned that Afghanistan faces a bleak future once the International Security Force (ISAF) withdraws at the end of 2014. He also said that “The Taliban will not enter into a meaningful dialogue if there is no feasible political strategy within which they can participate.”
But experts on Afghanistan were critical of the plan, which they view as a colonial attempt to impose a democratic system. Instead, Western powers should think about a military exit strategy that would enable them to withdraw their forces by the 2014 deadline.
Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysis Network said: “Splitting the country into such regions will result in the empowerment of what we have started calling “local or regional powerbrokers,” what were previously known as “warlords”, whose misrule between 1992 and 1996 caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place.”
While Wazma Frogh, executive director of Afghanistan’s Research Institute for Woman Peace and Security, was more scathing.
“Who is this British MP sitting in London and deciding for Afghanistan? It should be us the people of this country, deciding if we want to divide into states and collapse as a nation,” she said.
The current plan, when ISAF troops finally pull out, is to leave several thousand American trainers in the country in the hope that the Afghans will be largely able to police themselves; similar to the situation set up in Iraq after the withdrawal of Coalition forces in 2010.
|Tory adviser denies existence of blueprint to split Afghanistan into 'kingdoms'
||DAILY MAIL REPORTER
A Foreign Office aide has slammed claims that Afghanistan could be split into eight different 'kingdoms' - with some ruled by the Taliban.
According to the Independent on Sunday newspaper Tobias Ellwood MP has devised a radical blueprint for the future of Afghanistan, code-named Plan C, which would see President Hamid Karzai relegated to a figurehead role.
But speaking to Mail Online, Mr Ellwood said there was no such plan and that the document in question was a confidential development report written 18 months ago.
He insisted that there was no question of creating kingdoms or partitioning the country.
The report, he claimed, aimed to examine ways to encourage economic development and ensure the future stability of the country and was the result of lengthy consultations with various Afghan factions.
He said: 'There is no question of kingdoms or partition of any kind.
'This report is based on the views and thoughts of the Afghan people including academics and local leaders.
'This isn't a plan, it was a private paper based on observations that were made two years ago.'
According to the Independent on Sunday the 'plan' divides Afghanistan into eight zones - Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bamyan.
Mr Ellwood claimed it only considered the creation of economic hubs 'completely different' from kingdoms or partitions.
The zones would be run by a council representing different ethnic groups and overseen by one or more foreign countries.
Mr Ellwood described the use of the word 'Kingdom' as 'inaccurate' and 'extremely provocative'.
The newspaper quoted the report as reading: 'The Taliban will not enter into a meaningful dialogue if there is no feasible political strategy within which they can participate... An alternative solution [offers] a less centralised political structure that better reflects the ethnic make-up of the country, the already established economic hubs and the regional interest of the Taliban, who might then be encouraged towards a political settlement.'
The existence of the report was reportedly confirmed by a senior government source who said it had been presented to Foreign Secretary William Hague and to the White House.
critics have warned that Britain should not be imposing a system on Afghanistan and instead should be concentrating on removing military forces by 2014.
Thomas Ruttig, co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, told the Independent on Sunday: 'Splitting the country into such regions will result in the empowerment of what we have started calling 'local (or regional) power brokers' and what was known as 'warlords' before, whose misrule between 1992 and 1996 caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place.'
Comments and Views
Dear Mr. Mohmand:
Apparently we are on the same wavelength when it comes to the issue of Afghanistan and the subject of peace and security for its people. Peace and security for Afghans is an ideal the realization of which would certainly benefit every one in Afghanistan, in the region and worldwide. However to realize this ideal ways and means must be devised prudently and wisely in a realistic manner. This is what I have said time and again and would continue to propagate. I realize the depth of thought of both yourself and Mr. Noorzoy. I appreciate your stand. I would further be happy if I hear of your practical proposals in some detail like Mr. Mohmand's logical step by step suggestions to reach a goal. But even this very wise method requires further details like who is to bell the cat? I am thankful to both of you for your sincere ideas and from the feedback from Mr. Ulfat from all of which I benefited in many ways. Thank you again.
Dr. G, Rauf Roashan
Dear Professor Noorzoy, Mr. Roshan and Mr. Owen
Thank you for sharing the exchange with me.
Below I am providing some insight. A more detail writing would require some thinking and time. I am currently writing an article for a conference in Malaysia, which is due on the 20th of September. I will be working on two new articles at the same time, but then I would be able to find some time to return to this issue. The five points I included in this piece were also presented to EU ambassador, German ambassador, French ambassador, and British General Council in Kabul in a meeting in 2010. They seems to ignore what other Afghans tell them. They only want to hear from their stooges.
The solution to the crisis in Afghanistan is not the division of Afghanistan into many mini-states, but a unified state under a strong leadership. A leadership that can unite the country and a leadership capable of fighting warlords and foreign intruders. Before getting into the solution of the conflict, it is helpful to understand, why we are in this situation in the first place.
First, the United States, Great Britain and the international occupying forces continue misunderstand and have a great misperception of Afghanistan’s politics and society. Second, with the signing of the Bonn Agreement, the United States, Great Britain and their allies empowered the same elements, i.e., the Northern Alliance and other warlords who were the main parties responsible for the destruction of Afghanistan and for introducing factionalism, political violence, and warlordism. With the rapid overthrow of the Taliban regime, the Bush administration provided military and financial assistance to elements that it could not control or influence. Third, NATO and American military actions in Afghanistan such as the indiscriminate bombardment of villages, the killing of innocent civilians (offering their relatives blood money, as if this could compensate), the illegal entry and search of people’s houses, and searching Afghan women is creating resistance and animosity towards the Americans and other foreign troops in Afghanistan. Finally, the lack of political and administrative reforms, the deficiency of reconstruction and sustainable economic development, and the absence of social justice caused by a lack of responsibility and accountability, compounded by corruption, bribery, NGOs, foreign contractors, warlordism, and the drug mafia is gravely undermining the current regime. This actually helps the reemergence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The themes identified above will be developed in this article in the overall historical context, which is important to understand the failure of the United States’ policies today.
NATO, the United States, and Great Britain have created this miss in Afghanistan. Now we have to ask ourselves the question, how do we get out of this miss? The Obama Administration’s strong emphasis on a military solution, the continuous use of heavy force in military operations, and the indiscriminate bombardment of houses and villages are leading to more civilian casualties, anger, and further alienation of the Afghan people. The continuation of war and militaristic policies consequences the lack of economic development, absence of a workable political infrastructure, and a state apparatus run by factionalism, warlordism, corruption, and drug mafia. These further complicate the political and security situation in Afghanistan and increase the lethality of violence. Afghanistan continues to remain a war-stricken country and a national security challenge for the United States and the neighboring countries. To overcome these challenges and to bring peace, stability, security, and progress to the country, negotiation must be started sooner rather than later with the Taliban, and the American military, the British military, and the international forces must not allow local strongmen, warlords, militias, and different mafias to dominate politics and economy.
To bring peace and stability to Afghanistan, the United States, and the international community need to bring an end to the fighting and agree with the resistance movements to a political compromise. The United States and other members of the international community need to embrace a deeper understanding of Afghanistan’s security situation and increase of insurgency. The fighting must end if peace, stability, and sustainable economic development are to come to Afghanistan. A sharp distinction must be made between Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and meetings must start with the latter to work towards a political compromise and agreement. This is possible if we could answer the following questions:
a. Does the United Stated recognize the Taliban as a legitimate opposition force? If the answer to this question is no, then the fight would have to continue. If the answer to this question is yes, then,
b. Is the United States willing to negotiate with the Taliban movement without any preconditions: Negotiating with them while armed and strong? If the answer is no, peace negotiations cannot take place. If the answer is yes, then,
c. Are the United States and the Karzai government willing to share power with the Taliban? If both the United States and the Kabul government are not willing to share power, then the talks of negotiation have no meaning. But if the answer is yes, then,
d. A mechanism for negotiations must be constructed. In order to create such a mechanism, an environment of trust must be created, in which the opposition forces, including the Taliban, can feel secure and take part in negotiations. The Taliban must be given an address either within or outside Afghanistan, where they can be contacted. This will avoid mistakes such as inviting a shopkeeper instead of a Taliban member to the table. The Taliban must feel secure that their participation in negotiation and revealing their identity will not lead to their harassment and arrest. Once the persecution of the Taliban, who currently live in Kabul and other parts of the country ends, the Taliban fighting on the front lines can be easily convinced that the United States is serious and honest about negotiations.
e. Once the above-mentioned conditions are realized, a non-partisan and independent peace negotiating team or Jirga can be put together to start the process. Jirgas are put together for many purposes and each situation require specific organizational structure. In the traditional negotiating Jirga, negotiators are selected from people who are not party to the conflict. Therefore, this team cannot include members of the government, the Taliban and other opposition forces, the Northern Alliance, political parties affiliated with the government, and Jihadi groups and commanders. A negotiating Jirga always find a middle ground between opposing issues and demands. Once this team is put together, the United States, NATO, and the Taliban must agree to stop all types of attacks and killing.
If the United States and Great Britain think that the division of Afghanistan will bring an end to the fighting in the region, they do understand Afghanistan and the Afghan people. Great Britain should have a better sense of Afghanistan than the United States. Greta Britain has suffered three defeats at the hand of Afghans. It is true that times have changed and the technology of the imperial powers have improved, but so has the will, the desires and the patient of the Afghan people have improved.
The Afghans understand and recognize that the United States, Great Britain and other occupying forces have their interest in mind in the region. The Afghans also have interests and enemies in the area. Instead of killing the Afghan people and dividing the country, their interest will be better served, if they would cooperate with the Afghans, especially with Pashtoons.
If Afghanistan is divided, it would require the permanent protection and military presence of these mini-states by the involved powers. As it looks at the moment, the international community and the involved occupying forces do not the financial and military means to continue the current trend. How are they going to finance a permanent occupation. Furthermore, the different powers and countries would compete with one another and Afghanistan would become a more dangerous center of the Great Game.
I am sharing this with a few friends and colleagues because of its importance due to the new set of conspiracies to divide Afghanistan. Please share your thoughts. We cannot ignore foreign intrigues at this sensitive time when they are failing and in desperation they will do any thing not to leave a sound and united Afghanistan behind. Look at the bottom the issues raised by some in Britain Jonathan Owen.
Walaikum Salam Dr. Roshan,
As may you know after 35 years of research and writing about my native country and people I am fully aware of all the intrigues and involvement of foreigners who having bought a few individuals in to their service they think they have the final say. It is not merely well wishing, it is a reality that can stand on its own and be defended by all those who love Afghanistan. As long as there traitors there are foreigners around them. Removal of the second requires the removal of the first. This is historical and universal, not a unique Afghan problem.
Salaam Dr. Noorzoy:
Reading your response to my email and recalling the very first time I met you at the conference on Afghanistan at Davis University many years ago, I was once again touched by the depth of your thought and emotions of well wishing for Afghanistan. However, times have changed drastically and Afghanistan has gained no friends but foes primarily in the region and especially the government of Iran. It is wishful thinking that the world would let Afghanistan decide its own fate. There are so many conflicting interests of world powers and regional rivals that play the politics about Afghanistan. There are also so many foreign experts on Afghanistan whose knowledge of the country consists of brief visits lasting from a day or two to about a month. And as you correctly point out these political doctors who have failed to remedy the ills of their own societies are prescribing cures for the ills of Afghanistan. It is strange that although we saw how foreign powers imposed their will and a government and leaders of their own choice on Afghanistan, we still hope that next time they would not. But hope alone is not enough; we should do something about it to make sure that any interference from abroad into the affairs of Afghanistan is prevented.
I thank you again for your time and effort.
Salam Dr. Roshan,
I had written an article which was posted on Dawat early this year ( January 2012) rejecting the proposal for federal system of governance based on the realities of Afghanistan.
What the foreign invading forces must realize is the fact that despite the extreme odds, the treachery, the killing, the abuse they have brought to the Afghan people, and tried to use some segments of the Afghan people against another, the vast majority of the Afghan people demand that the foreign troops, all of them, get out of Afghanistan and the Afghan people will decide their own form of governance. The foreign occupation forces have manipulated the traditional Loya Jirga trying to set up a corrupt and incompetent regime to serve their interests. Now that these forces are leaving by their own accord or as many argue due to the losses and near defeat they have suffered in Afghanistan after eleven years of war they must know that no government imposed from the outside will be acceptable by the Afghan people. That is what I found out in my research trip to Kabul early this year visiting a variety of sources among the Afghan people where the demands of the Afghan people were clearly stated and many a times have been stated openly. Foreign sources must stop their interferences in Afghanistan and they must know that the Afghan people backed by the vast network of Afghan intellectuals inside and outside Afghanistan will not ignore or tolerate foreign imposed policies, or tolerate the arrogant and many a times out rightly nonsensical ideas such as the division of Afghanistan in to sections that will be interfered with by neocolonials who are largely failing within their own borders in many ways.
The solution for the problems brought by the illegal invasion of Afghanistan is the establishment of comprehensive peace; that will eliminate the need for large army and police forces which Afghanistan cannot afford and at the same time eliminate the dependency on foreign financing. A new temporary governemnt is needed that we have proposed since 2008 ( www.Afghanresearchsociety.org. ) and revised in 2010 ( www.Afghanprm.org. ) consisting of a coalition of those Afghans with clean hands backed by the international community to work for the establishment of a permanent government.
Peace and remocval of all foreign military and military related foreig civilian contengents are the fundamental building blocks for the security and stability of a united Afghanistan.
Professor of Economics, Emeritus
Director, Afghan Research Society International
سلام بر شما:
جوناتان اوون یکی از نگا رندگان نشریه ی اندیپندنت اخیرا طی یک ایمیل از من در مورد طرح پیشنهادی توبایس الوود نمایندهٔ پارلمان برطانیه مبنی بّر انقسام افغانستان به هشت ایالت نظر خواهی کرده بود. یقینا آدرس مرا از سایت ما در انترنت بدست آورده و یا هم با مقالات تحلیلی من در مورد افغانستان که تعداد آنها نزدیک به ششصد مقاله میرسد آشنایی داشته است. خلاصهٔ این تحلیل که در ایمیل موصوف گنجانده شده است برای من بسیار تکاندهنده بود و من بلافاصله در یک ایمیل بنام نامبرده جوابی نوشتم و ارسال داشتم. در جواب خود از مثل معروف افغانی که اشاره به از جیب خلیفه بخشیدن میکند نموده و شباهت این پیشنهاد نمایندهٔ پارلمان برطانیه را با ارتسام خط دیورند از طرف یک برطانوی زمان استعمار انگلیس و حتی تقلاهای یک عضو مجلس نمایندگان امریکا بنام روررباخر را یاد آور شدم و نوشتم مگر افغانستان به برطانیه متعلق است یا به مردم افغانستان که الوود در مورد تجزیهاش پیشنهاد مینماید؟ با در نظرداشت این جریان خطرناک اینک نامهٔ مذکور و جوابیهٔ خود را برای مزید معلومات و پیگیری جدی از جانب شما ارسال داشتم. افغانهای دانشمند و وطندوست بایست درین مورد پیش ازانکه دیر شده باشد اقدام نموده و جلو این نشریات خطرناک را گرفته توجه مقامات جهانی و ملل متحد و حکومت افغانستان را به این موضوع مهم جلب نمایند و یاد آورشوند که افغانستان مال مردم افغانستان است و دسایس اجنبیها را نباید دران راه باشد.
هموطن تان رووف روشان
Dear Jonathan Owen:
Thank you for the email and your interest. I carefully read your message and it brought to my mind a number of issues that I had addressed recently and even many years ago. It also reminded me of an Afghan saying I have referred to in one of my many commentaries. It says: "Give to Charity, not from your own pocket, but from the pocket of your boss."
It reminds me again whether Afghanistan belongs to the people of Afghanistan or a British MP Tobias Ellwood who similar to another British, a colonial officer, Motamer Durand who drew on paper a line which is called the Durand Line delineating Afghanistan's borders on the east and south. An infamous delineation that has caused misery and separation among millions of people dividing son from father and brother from brother and let alone daughter from mom. He drew the line to satisfy the colonial objectives of Great Britain that thought, arrogantly, that the world belonged to it and he could do with the fate of peoples elsewhere whatever it decided was good for Britain-and who cares about other people and their rights and needs. I wondered if there was any connection among Ellwood of Britain and Rhorarbacher the US House Representative of today and Durand of yore.
It also seemed to me as a story from the children's books where a monkey divides the cheese between two contenders.
I thank you sincerely for asking my opinion which I have expressed in clear cut terms on this very issue recently and as long ago as Januray of 2002. Please refer to my commentaries online named: "Pros and Cons of Federalism in Afghanistan," and a recent one called:" What Would a Post-Karzai Afghanistan Look Like?" You can google-search for these or can go online to these two addresses and scroll down the list of commentaries where you would find tens of relevant commentaries on issues related to Afghanistan. The addresses are: http://www.roashan.com and http://www.roashan.com/Roashan.
I would appreciate to hear from you on your paper and or any further questions you may have on the issue. I may have to embark on a wide consultation with Afghans interested in Afghan politics in Afghanistan and abroad explaining these developments.
I’m trying to write a piece on current thinking on the future of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the majority of Coalition troops by the end of 2014, and I’d welcome your guidance.
In particular, we are attempting to track a UK-based proposal for the structure of post-operational governance, which we understand has been presented and discussed in Washington – and has already provoked some controversy in Afghanistan itself.
The report, 'Plan C - Finding a political solution to Afghanistan', was drawn up by British MP Tobias Ellwood last year and seeks to provide a follow-up to Plan A - the 2001 Bonn agreement that established the current Afghan constitution - and Plan B - US Vice-President Joe Biden's plan for ending US military involvement in Afghanistan.
Its recommendations include the division of Afghanistan into eight states whose capitals would be Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bamiyan. The new political system would see the creation of the post of prime minister, with the role of the president becoming little more than a figurehead.
The Afghan newspaper Weesa Daily noted last August that “after 2014 the political structure in Afghanistan should be changed and a decentralized government should be established in the country … Each zone would be controlled by a council represented by ethnic tribes [and] Every zone would be directly influenced or supported by one or several countries, for example, Mazar-i-Sharif by Russia and Germany and Herat by Iran and France.” [http://mpwiis07-beta02.dfs.un.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4647&ctl=Details&mid=5294&ItemID=14692]
We understand from sources in the UK that the new proposal for future governance of Afghanistan is still ‘live’ and has been discussed by White House staff.
I’d be grateful for your insight: for example, Have you already heard about this proposal? Who has seen/discussed Plan C? How viable is Plan C? Is it informing the transition process in any way?
I would appreciate any thoughts, or at least pointers as to who else we can contact on this.
Independent on Sunday
Direct line: 0203 615 2079
Mobile: 07505 130261
Independent on Sunday
2 Derry Street