Karzai slams US on eve of Ghani’s inauguration as president

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Dhu al-Hijjah 03, 1435 2014-09-28

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai took a swipe at the US and Pakistani accusing both of not wanting peace in Afghanistan. Installed by the US following the ouster of Taliban from power, Karzai presided over massive corruption in the country. He had also spend nearly a decade in refugee camps in Pakistan. Ashraf Ghani will be sworn in as president on September 29.


September 28, 2014, 19:13 DST

Ashraf Ghani is to be sworn in as Afghanistan’s president on Monday September 29. His inauguration comes more than three months after the second round of elections that his opponent Abdullah Abdullah disputed claiming rigging. Under a US-brokered deal, a new post of ‘chief executive officer’ was created for Abdullah while Ghani, a former World Bank executive, was declared the winner in a backroom deal.

Afghanistan’s backroom political wheeling and dealing has continue despite US claims that it has delivered western style democracy through cruise missiles at a cost of more than $1 trillion. Even the beneficiaries of US-delivered democracy have turned sour on the experiment. Take the example of Hamid Karzai, installed as president by the Americans soon after the Taliban were driven from power in November 2001. He has turned against the Americans and took parting shots at them in his farewell address.

In a move reminiscent of US President Eisenhower who used his farewell address to the Americans to warn of the rise of the “military industrial complex” threatening the future of the United States, Karzai targeted the US with pointed criticisms in his final speech as president. “America did not want peace for Afghanistan, because it had its own agendas and goals here,” he declared before his audience at the presidential palace in Kabul. “I have always said this: that if America and Pakistan want peace, it is possible to bring peace to Afghanistan.”

“I want to thank those countries who genuinely supported us,” Karzai said, which appeared to be a reference to India, with whom he enjoyed good diplomatic relations. His wife even gave birth to her dauther in India while most Afghan women do not have access to even basic medicine. “Western countries had their personal interest—the Western countries and the United States had their own personal goal,” said Karzai.

He went on to underscore his point. "War in Afghanistan is based on the aims of foreigners,” he said. “The war in Afghanistan is to the benefit of foreigners. But Afghans on both sides are the sacrificial lambs and victims of this war." Karzai declared that a friendly relationship with the United States was possible, but only if their words matched their actions. Karzai’s speech threw the US establishment into a collective apoplexy. Articles in the US media berated him for his “ungratefulness” in overlooking the US expenditure of blood and money on Afghan soil.

The former US Ambassador to Afghanistan held a press conference after Karzai’s speech, where he denounced the remarks. “It makes me kind of sad. I think his remarks, which were uncalled-for, do a disservice to the American people, and dishonor the sacrifices that Americans have made here,” said Cunningham.

“By not recognizing the many contributions that Americans have made, and our partners, that’s the part that’s ungracious and ungrateful.”
Many have interpreted Karzai’s speech as a warning to the next Afghan administration not to trust the US too openly. Even while relinquishing direct power, Karzai still retains a considerable degree of influence over the political infrastructure. It has been speculated that Karzai will serve as an adviser of sorts to Ghani.

However, Karzai’s late-blooming conscience doesn’t seemed to have rubbed off as of yet on Ghani, who came into office with the blessing of the US.“When the new administration takes over . . . one of its first acts will be to sign the security deal with the US that was rejected by President Karzai,” reported the BBC.


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