Contact Us

Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?

- DR. Abdul-Qayum Mohmand

Analysis of “CIA World Factbook” (1981-2012): Dimensions of anti-Pashtun Conspirac

Afghan Fury at Planned Pakistan Pact
What Happens When the U.S. Leaves Afghanistan?
Trying to leave Afghanistan proves to be as troublesome as being there: A Closer Look
Afghanistan: “It’s Just Damage Limitation Now”
Zero Dark Thirty Review-Analysis; Eleven Instances of Disinformation
Why is America Failing in Afghanistan?
US forces in Afghanistan nearly destroyed vital airfield
We Are Those Two Afghan Children, Killed by NATO While Tending Their Cattle
Former Islamist Warlord Vies for Afghan Presidency
Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process
Losing the War in Afghanistan
Obama’s troop increase for Afghan war was misdirected
Afghan security vacuum feared along "gateway to Kabul"
Objections to U.S. Troops Intensify in Afghanistan
The Great Afghan corruption scam
War zone killing: Vets feel 'alone' in their guilt
Was Osama for Real? And Was He Killed in 2001?
Afghanistan withdrawal: The risks of retreat
The Real Reason the US Invaded Afghanistan
The Definition of a Quagmire
Huge Uncertainty' in Afghanistan
Controversial ID Cards Expose Ethnic Divisions In Afghanistan
Afghanistan: The Final Curtain Call for NATO?
Afghanistan After 9/11: A Mission Unaccomplished
Why Should Taliban and Other Insurgents Refrain from Negotiation With the US & NATO? By: Dr Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, Ph

Exclusive: Karzai family looks to extend boss rule in Afghanistan.

Intrigue in Karzai Family as an Afghan Era Closes
For Afghans, Two Outrages, Two Different Reactions
Double blow to west’s Afghan strategy
Does the Taliban need a diplomatic voice?
Afghanistan: Lessons in War and Peace-building for US
Afghan women opposed by former allies
Q+A - Haqqani: From White House guest to staunch U.S. enemy
Haqqanis: Growth of a militant network -BBC
Afghanistan shelves plans for ambassador accused of fraud
Afghan nominated as ambassador to Britain was accused in US of fraud
U.S. deal with Taliban breaks down
The Loneliness of the Afghan President: Karzai on His Own

NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

On the Road: Interview with Commander Abdul Haq:- The Tragedy of Abdul Haq
When the Lion Roared: How Abdul Haq Almost Saved Afghanistan
Pakistan’s ISI: Undermining Afghan self-determination since 1948
Mineral Wealth of Afghanistan, Military Occupation, Corruption and the Rights of the Afghan People
M. Siddieq Noorzoy
Why Isn’t the UN Investigating and Prosecuting the U.S. and NATO for War Crimes Committed in Afghanistan?
Corruption and Warlordism:
Abdul Basir Stanikzai
In Afghanistan, U.S. contracts aren’t crystal balls, but they come close
The great Afghan carve-up
Anatomy of an Afghan war tragedy
Terry Jones Actually Burns a Qur’an and No One Notices
Q+A-Are Afghan forces ready to take over security?
Guantánamo Bay files rewrite the story of Osama bin Laden's Tora Bora escape
Winning Afghan hearts, minds with explosives
Afghanistan’s Mercenaries
Who is winning Afghanistan war? U.S. officials increasingly disagree
Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition
From the Archives: In Quest of a ‘Greater Tajikistan’
The 1980s mujahideen, the Taliban and the shifting idea of jihad
Afghanistan's Karzai complains about interference
Karzai, US ambassador at odds over private security

Karzai Tells Washington Post U.S. Should Reduce Afghan Operation Intensity

Excerpts from Afghan President Hamid Karzai's interview with The Washington Post
What the Afghans Want
New US approach to Afghanistan insurgency: Vindication for Pakistan?
Putting Some Fight Into Our Friends
Afghans 'abused at secret prison
Why We Won’t Leave Afghanistan or Iraq
Indo-Pakistan proxy war heats up in Afghanistan
Canada’s elite commandos and the invasion of Afghanistan
U.S. retreat from Afghan valley marks recognition of blunder
Five myths about the war in Afghanistan
Marine who resigned over ‘conscience’ speaks at MU
The Afghan media may have grown since Taliban rule ended, but not so press freedoms
Mystery holes and angry ants: another Afghan day
Kabul Bank's Sherkhan Farnood feeds crony capitalism in Afghanistan
Marjah War
Operation Moshtarak: Which way the war in Afghanistan?
Q&A: Why Marjah, why now?
In Jalalabad, hope is fading
Seeking reconciliation, US units meet remote Afghanistan tribes
Once Again, Get the Hell Out! "Ending the War in Afghanistan"
Blackwater Kept a Prostitute on the Payroll in Afghanistan; Fraudulently Billed American Tax Payers
Wild West Motif Lightens US Mood at Afghan Bas
In southern Afghanistan, even the small gains get noticed
 Afghanistan war: US tries to undercut Taliban at tribal level
 Soviet lessons from Afghanistan
Are actions of 'super-tribe' an Afghan tipping point
Taliban: Terrorist or not? Not always easy to say
Q&A: Who else could help in Afghanistan?
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
Washington's Refusal to Talk about Drone Strikes in Pakistan Meets Growing Opposition
Afghanistan summit: Why is the US backing talks with the Taliban?
Taliban's leadership council runs Afghan war from Pakistan
Why buy the Taliban?
2 Afghanistan conferences: No solutions
An Alternative to Endless War - Negotiating an Afghan Agreement?
Do the Taliban represent the Pashtuns?
Afghanistan asks ex-presidential contender to tackle corruption

Tehran Sets Conditions For Attending London Conference On Afghanista

Pakistan says reaches out to Afghan Taliban
Taking It to the Taliban
The Afghan Taliban's top leaders
How significant is Mullah Baradar's arrest?
Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander
What's the Quetta Shura Taliban and why does it matter?
What's behind latest Taliban attack on Kabul? See Images of the Attack By WSJ

Pakistan Version of Islam and Taliban ?????
Lahore fashion week takes on Talibanization in Pakistan

Loyalties of Those Killed in Afghan Raid Remain Unclear

After Attack, Afghans Question Motives or See Conspiracies
Gates: Taliban part of Afghan ‘political fabric’

IG: Afghan power-plant project ill-conceived, mismanaged

Taliban intensifies Afghan PR campaign

Taliban Overhaul Their Image in Bid to Win Allies
Karzai plans to woo Taliban with 'land, work and pensions'
Peace scheme mooted for Taliban
Bombs and baksheesh
But By All Means, Continue the Happy Talk on the Afghanistan War
Karzai Closing in on Taliban Reconciliation Plan
Last Exit Kabul
How To Get Out Without Forsaking Afghanistan's Stability
Afghan Recovery Report: Taleban Buying Guns From Former Warlords

'Jesus Guns': Two More Countries Rethink Using Weapons with Secret Bible References

Gun bible quotes 'inappropriate'
Text of Joint declaration of Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan trilateral meeting
Garmsir Protest Shows Taleban Reach
Rugged North Waziristan harbors US enemies
The Arrogance of Empire, Detailed ( The Untold Story of Afghanistan )
Appointment of Afghan counter narcotics chief dismays British officials
In Afghanistan attack, CIA fell victim to series of miscalculations about informant
Rebuilding Afghanistan: Will government take hold in this post-Taliban town?
Rare bird discovered in Afghan mountains
Blackwater, now called Xe, in running for work in Afghanistan despite legal woes
How Soviet troops stormed Kabul palace
Afghan children 'die in fighting'
Afghanistan war: Russian vets look back on their experience
U.N. Officials Say American Offered Plan to Replace Karzai 
Learning From the Soviets
U.S. faults Afghan corruption body's independence
Intensify fight against corruption, says Afghan meeting
Afghan ministers cleared of charges
Drone aircraft in a stepped-up war in Afghanistan and Pakistan
U.S. Air Force Confirms 'Beast of Kandahar' Secret Stealth Drone Plane
Kissinger's fantasy is Obama's realit
Taliban shadow officials offer concrete alternative
Talking with the Taliban
20. Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart
'Yes, there was torture and people were certainly beaten': Afghan warden
Why we should leave Afghanistan
US pours millions into anti-Taliban militias in Afghanistan
Pakistan to US: Don't surge in Afghanistan, talk to Taliban
A Plan C for Afghanistan
Finding decent cabinet is Karzai's big challenge
A way to get around Karzai in Afghanistan
Corruption fight boosted by 'Afghan FBI'
US demands Afghan 'bribery court'
Afghanistan plans court for corrupt ministers
The man leading Afghanistan's anti-corruption fight
Win hearts and minds in Afghanistan to win the war
Gates blocks abuse photos release
New U.S. Afghan prison unveiled, rights groups wary
War in Afghanistan: Not in our name
How the US Funds the Taliban
Afghan gov't says UN representative out of line
Cabinet of Warlords
Afghanistan and the lessons of history
Clinton says Karzai ‘must do better’
Recognizing the Limits of American Power in Afghanistan
After Afghanistan election, governors seek distance from 'illegal' Karzai
Karzai was hellbent on victory. Afghans will pay the price
Matthew Hoh: Please refute what I'm saying, we are stuck in the Afghan civil war
As US looks for exit in Afghanistan, China digs in
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistani
The Afghan '80s are back
Pashtun peace prophet goes global
Afghan Road Builder's Dream Thwarted by Violence
A white elephant in Kabul
The Afghan Runoff: Will It Be a No-Show Election?

Ashraf Ghani- Afghanistan's Disputed Election Complicates U.S. Strategy

On Assignment: Into the Maw at Marja

Patrick Witty & Tyler Hicks
The New York Times

Afghanistan Cross Road CNN

The last frontier

Bruce Richardson


CIA: Buying peace in Afghanistan?

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan
CIA Ghost Money: Karzai Confirms U.S. Gives Funds To Afghan National Security Team
What the CIA’s cash has bought for Afghanistan

Khalilzad: A Satan Whispering in the Hearts of Men
The Afghan trust deficitt
Will We Learn Anything from Afghanistan? Part 1
Getting Out of Afghanistan: Part 2
William R. Polk
General’s Defense on Afghan Scandal Ducks Key Evidence
Afghans want Taliban peace talks
Bombing Weddings in Afghanistan: It Couldn't Happen Here, It Does Happen There
Hekmatyar's never-ending Afghan war
Covert American Aid to the Afghan Resistance; A Top-Secret U.S. Foreign Policy Plot to Induce and Effect Soviet Military Intervention
Afghan brain drain fears as Karzai urges education reforms

US considers launching joint US-Afghan raids in Pakistan to hunt down militant groups

Real security in Afghanistan depends on people's basic needs being met
Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy
Former Taliban Officials Say U.S. Talks Started
Taliban ready for talks with US, not Karzai government
Emboldened Taliban Try to Sell Softer Image
Leaked NATO Report Shows Pakistan Support For Taliban
Insight: Few options for Afghan, U.S. leaders after Kandahar massacre
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Daoud Sultanzoy, Tolo Television
NATO’s measured exit plan in Afghanistan faces new obstacles
BFP Exclusive: Karzai Clan Attorney Threatens US Journalist, Uses Intimidation Tactics
Afghanistan Chronicles
Arduous path to Afghan 'end-game'
Fear in the classrooms: is the Taliban poisoning Afghanistan's schoolgirls?
A comment on the recent events of student poisoning in Afghanistan
Rape Case, in Public, Cites Abuse by Armed Groups in Afghanistan
Afghanistan’s Peace Talks Hit Brick Wall
King Karzai
A Federal System of Government is Not Suitable for Afghanistan
Analysis: Where Afghan humanitarianism ends and development begins
U.S. Envoy: Kabulbank Was 'Vast Looting Scheme'
Speaking with the enemy: how US commanders fight the Taliban during the day and dine with them at night
Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Musery
How to Win Peace in Afghanistan
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Criticism of Afghan War Is on the Rise in Britain
Troops 'fighting for UK's future'
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Afghans still skeptical about Obama
US Defence Department struggling with public release of report on bombing in Afghanistan
Afghanistan on the Edge
Q+A: Who are the Pakistani Taliban insurgents?
Afghanistan Past & Present
Bombs for Pashtoons and Dollars for Punjab
Help! I'm being outgunned on K Street!
ANGELS CHASING DEMONS: “Jesus Killed Mohammad”!
U.S. tested 2 Afghan scenarios in war game
America's Top Diplomat Tells 'Nightline': 'Not Every Taliban Is al Qaeda'
Obama hearing range of views on Afghanistan
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Will Obama change Afghan strategy?
What Do Afghans Want? Withdrawal - But Not Too Fast - and A Negotiated Peace
Afghans tricked into U.S. trip, detained
In the Afghan War, Aim for the Middle
Obama pulled two ways in Afghanistan
Obama Can’t Make Russian Mistake in Afghanistan
10 Steps to Victory in Afghanistan
Gates: Mistake to set time line for Afghan withdrawal
Afghans question what democracy has done for them
High stakes in Afghan vote recount
Two Perspectives On Resolving The Afghan Postelection Crisis
Does the U.S. still have a vital interest in Afghanistan?
Pashtuns and Pakistanis
The Afghan '80s are back
How to Lose in Afghanistan
US in Afghanistan proposes revamped strategy
US 'needs fresh Afghan strategy'
US looks to Vietnam for Afghan tips
Lessons from Vietnam on Afghanistan
Afghan Pres. Skips Country's 1st TV Debate
A proud moment for Afghanistan
Rival to Karzai Gains Strength in Afghan Presidential Election
Afghan presidential candidate withdraws in Karzai's favor
America and international law
Hamid Karzai pulls out of historic TV debate just hours before broadcast
Karzai says no to first Afghanpresidential debate
Afghan election: Can Karzai's rivals close the gap?
Karzai opponents hope to beat him in second round
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
For Karzai, Stumbles On Road To Election
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Cruel human toll of fight to win Afghan peace
Karzai’s gimmick
Well-known traffickers set free ahead of election
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Why the Pentagon Axed Its Afghanistan Warlord
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
The Irresistible Illusion
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit
We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Operation in Taliban hotbed a test for revamped U.S. strategy
Covering Crucial Afghanistan Operation
Pentagon Seeks to Overhaul Prisons in Afghanistan
Echoes of Vietnam
A Response To General Dostum
Obama orders probe of killings in Afghanistan
Obama admin: No grounds to probe Afghan war crimes
US president sets Afghan target
U.S. Inaction Seen After Taliban P.O.W.’s Died
Afghanistan's Election Challenges
The Irresistible Illusion
Earn our trust or go, Afghans tell GIs
Running Out Of Options, Afghans Pay For an Exit

We've lost sight of our goal in Afghanistan

The strategy is sound – but success is not assured
Stakes High in Afghanistan Ahead of August Elections
$2,000 for a dead Afghan Child, $100,000 for Any American Who Died Killing it
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse
Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
Fierce Battles and High Casualties on the Frontlines of Afghanistan
End the Illegal, Immoral and Wasted War in Afghanistan, says BNP Defence Spokesman
Outside View: Four revolutions
Pakistan's Plans for New Fight Stir Concern
France: liberty, equality, and fraternity – but no burqas





Echoes of Vietnam

Even the Coalition commanders in Afghanistan wonder if they can win the war
Will history repeat itself in Afghanistan?

British military intervention in Afghanistan has a chequered history, making it easy to conclude that British forces will fail again


Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Daoud Sultanzoy, Tolo Television  
Source: Tolo TV Interview with Secretary Panetta By: U.S Department of Defense  

DAOUD SULTANZOY: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY LEON PANETTA: Thank you very much.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: It's a difficult time for both countries, and you've come at a very important juncture of -- in this time. Afghanistan and the United States have come a long way, and yet some tragic incidents and situations can hamper a good opportunity that both nations have.

What is the latest finding that that you have about this brazen cruelty in Kandahar?

SEC. PANETTA: Look, my understanding is that the investigation is proceeding. It's going forward under our procedures of military justice, and I've urged them to do a thorough and expeditious investigation that will determine what charges are to be brought against this individual. And once those charges are brought, I can assure the Afghan people that he will brought to justice swiftly.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: The American government's sentiment is always reflected in the media, but the U.S. public sentiment is very rarely reflected. You have been a very distinguished politician in the country, a representative. Can you tell us how the American people feel? And the Afghan people would like to know that.

SEC. PANETTA: You know, I think that in many ways there are -- there are similar feelings here. I think the Afghan people have been through many years of war and are tired of the conflict and the loss of life and, I know, want to have a peaceful, sovereign, independent Afghanistan in which they can raise their families in peace and hopefully give their children a better life.

And I think that's how the American people feel. This has been 10 years of war that the American people have been involved -- and a lot of our sons and daughters have gone to war, and many of them have been killed. And so there's -- you know, there's some exhaustion --


SEC. PANETTA: -- with these long periods of war.

But at the same time, the American people believe that when we engage in war and when our sons and daughters pay with their lives, that it is important for us to accomplish the mission -- that we are involved with, that that mission is to establish an Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself. That's our mission. That's our goal. And I think the American people want that to be accomplished.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: The United States was attacked -- 2001, and you came here to make sure that your security is assured. And yet the war has to be fought outside our borders, and if the war was fought there, we won't be facing tragedies as such as we did.

How are you going to resolve that issue of outside our borders? The war emanates from those areas.

SEC. PANETTA: That -- it's one of the challenges that we obviously face; that, you know, we know that terrorism and the terrorists often find safe haven across those borders and then cross into Afghanistan to create havoc and take lives; and that we think it is important that that be addressed; that, you know, we can fight and we can achieve the goals that we want to achieve in Afghanistan, but to ultimately have a true peace for the future, it is extremely important that we deal with terrorism wherever it exists. And terrorists cannot be the friends of any country. Terrorists are terrorists.


SEC. PANETTA: And they need to deal with that.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: I -- when I was growing up, I remember Kandahar being one of the most pro-American cities in this country, because America was engaged in nonmilitary development activities. And most Kandaharis knew English in those days.

And they were prospering. And I think America can do that again, you know, paying attention to development and to post-2014, the drawdown. I hope the drawdown is not embroiled in election fervor. Usually every two years in America this fervor goes up.

And the drawdown at one point was 23,000, now latest reports are saying that an additional 20,000 will be removed from -- in 2013, and then the British prime minister said that they will end everything in 2013 -- very conflicting messages. The people here in the region are confused.

SEC. PANETTA: No, I understand. The press often plays up these issues, and it can be confusing. But I want to assure the Afghan people that having participated in the ministerials with our NATO allies, that the United States and our NATO allies are committed to a very firm strategy here, a strategy that will mean that we will -- obviously, we will gradually transition areas to Afghan control, and we've already begun that process.

We have made good progress here in Afghanistan. I think 2011 was a real turning point. Levels of violence are down. We've weakened the Taliban. We've been able to develop an Afghan army and police that are assuming good operational competence, taking over in areas. And that's extremely important. It's a tribute to the Afghan leadership that that's happening. And in addition to that, we are successfully beginning these transitions.

We'll continue that process through 2012 and 2013. And our goal right now is to not in any way expedite that kind of drawdown until we reach the end of 2014. Our goal is to draw down by 2014. That's our path, that's our goal, and we're going to stick to that.

More importantly, we're going to maintain an enduring presence here. And I think the Afghan people need to know that, that the United States is not going anywhere. We're going to continue to be here to assist the Afghan people in development, in training, in assistance and ensuring that this country is strong and independent for the future.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: Which is very important, you know, 2014 -- post - 2014, American footprint, U.S. footprint in Afghanistan -- can you tell us a little bit about that? Of course, military footprint is one thing, but the upkeep of the military and police and other security forces in Afghanistan is also a matter to address.

SEC. PANETTA: That's true. That's true.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: And both these issues are not that clear to us.

SEC. PANETTA: We've been -- we've been discussing these issues with our NATO allies. And obviously, in Chicago, the leadership of these countries will come together to following up on the Lisbon agreement, kind of lay out the strategy between now and 2014 and beyond.

I think they'll want to discuss how we continue these transitions. They'll want to discuss the level of the Afghan army and police that is sustainable for the future, one that all of us can, in working with the Afghans, be able to assure the Afghan people that they will have a strong and stable army and police that'll be able to maintain order in the future. That's being discussed as well.

And then lastly, the question of what missions are we going to perform beyond 2014: I think the key missions that we can see right now are we have to continue to counter terrorism and go -- continue to go after those that would try to disrupt this country and those terrorists who would continue to try to plan attacks on our own country. We have to continue to operate against them. We have to continue to advise, assist, train the Afghan army and be able to support them. And I think we have to continue the development side of this, to give the Afghan people the opportunity and development that will create a stable economy and future for this country.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: The strategic partnership, what is that we don't know in this partnership? You mentioned the military side, the development side and also the American security -- as far as its concerned, your role in the region -- what is that? What else is there that we are still not -- unaware of -- from the American point of view?

SEC. PANETTA: I think the most important thing for the strategic partnership agreement is that it will be a decision between the Afghan people and the international forces that have been here -- the NATO forces, the ISAF forces and the United States -- to establish not just a relationship for now but a relationship into the future.

And it will provide the Afghan people with a clear indication that the mission that we are trying to accomplish here is not something that we're going to walk away from, but is a mission that we'll continue to work at into the future.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: The ugly incidents from both sides sometimes puts both governments and both nations in a weaker situation when -- especially when it comes to talks with the Taliban. Are we in a weaker position now in the -- in the, supposedly, talks with the Taliban, peace talks, both the Afghan side and the U.S. side?

SEC. PANETTA: You know, the most important thing that we need to do to be in a strong position in those discussions is to continue to do what we're doing now, to continue to keep the levels of violence down, continue to confront and weaken the Taliban wherever they are, continue the process of transition, continue the process of developing a strong Afghan army, a strong Afghan police. If we do that, that puts us in a strong position. That's where we are now, and that's where we have to stay.

I think that these incidents -- you know, as I've said, war is hell. We'll see these kind of incidents take place. They are tragic. We need to learn from them. We need to make sure they don't happen again. But we cannot allow those incidents to undermine the strategy that the Afghan people and the United States and our NATO partners are engaged in.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: As strategic partners, if Israel attacks Iran, the United States -- if -- and if Iran retaliates against the United States in Afghanistan, what would be your position?

SEC. PANETTA: I think, as the -- as the president has made clear, we have -- we have common cause here and a concern that Iran should not develop a nuclear weapon. And this is not a policy of containment; this is a policy of prevention.

And that -- right now the international community is unified in putting pressure on Iran not to do this. We've applied strong diplomatic sanctions, strong economic sanctions. They are isolated. They are, I think, being severely penalized for their behavior. And I think the feeling of the president and the international community is -- now is the time to continue that pressure. And we would hope that Israel would work with us in continuing that kind of diplomatic pressure. This is not the time to take military action. This is the time to allow diplomacy and these sanctions to take effect and to hopefully change the behavior of Iran.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: As partners, we have always talked about community issues and development, but rarely have we been very straightforward about talking about civil society and developing a political process in this country beyond 2014. Very little attention is paid to development of political parties in this country that are -- that are pluralistic, that are nationwide. This is something that we would like our partners to talk about. What is your position?

SEC. PANETTA: Dauod -- Afghanistan has the opportunity to develop a strong democracy for the future. This is a tremendous opportunity for the noble people of this country to have the ability to be able to govern themselves. That's not easy. It's a challenge. You have to deal with the institutions of government. You have to -- you develop a strong parliament; you have to develop a strong judicial system. You have to develop the kind of rights and reforms that allow the people to express themselves in elections. And you have to develop the leadership both at the local level and at the national level that can provide the important guidance for this country as to the path that needs to be followed.

This is not going to be easy. I mean, we're seeing a lot of this in the Middle East with the turmoil that going on out there as these countries are striving to put the institutions of government together. But the Afghan people have that opportunity. What a rare and great opportunity it is to develop a country that can truly give their children a better life for the future. To do that demands sacrifice, it demands dedication, and it demands help from countries like the United States to be able to assist you to develop those strong institutions that can support a strong Afghanistan for the future.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: And it also demands a level playing field for those Afghans who have no arms and no guns and --

SEC. PANETTA: That's right.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: -- they are outside the mafia circles.

SEC. PANETTA: That's right.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: The election of 2014 in Afghanistan, if the present leadership would want to extend its term, what would be the U.S. position on that?

SEC. PANETTA: Well, I have to take President Karzai at his word that he's not going to run again. And if that's the case, then obviously there will have to be new leadership that is willing to take on the burdens of governance in this country. That's one of those tests --


SEC. PANETTA: -- for the future as to whether Afghanistan can become a strong democracy. To do that, you need to have people who are willing to step forward and provide that leadership and who are willing to bring the country together. I mean, this is a country that has a rich and diverse history and one that the Afghan people should be very proud of. But it does mean that people have to work together and to work in a unified way to walk in the right direction for the future. That's not always easy.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: As a very seasoned politician, you've been both elected and you've served in academia and also in the CIA and now the Defense Department. What is your prediction about the U.S. elections?

SEC. PANETTA: (Laughs.) You know, I've -- in 40 years of experience in politics, the one thing I've learned is never to predict anything. You know, democracy and elections are a dynamic process. And, you know, there will be, as we've always had, a very rich debate about the future, both parties competing to try to convince the American people about their platform. I believe, since I'm a Democrat, that the president has provided strong leadership and that we provide a strong platform for the future. But it's going to be up to the American people to make that decision. And you know? That's the way it should be.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: Do you think the Republicans will have a -- better relations with Mr. Karzai?

SEC. PANETTA: I think that whatever party is ultimately empowered by the American people will have to maintain a strong relationship with President Karzai and whoever follows him, because the future of Afghanistan will determine whether or not the price that we pay -- not just the United States, but the Afghan people -- whether that price was worthwhile.

DAOUD SULTANZOY: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your time.

SEC. PANETTA: Thank you very much, Daoud.



The articles and letters are the opinion of the writers and are not representing the view of Sabawoon Online.
Copyright © 1996 - 2024 Sabawoon. All rights reserved.