International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

October 16, 2003

October 16, 2003





**  Two years on, analysts stand divided over the progress made in Afghanistan.


**  Unable to restrain warlords or eradicate the Taliban, President Karzai is "losing credibility."


**  Conflicting American policies, Iraq and the U.S.' "loss of interest" exacerbate instability.


**  Expansion of ISAF outside of Kabul is a "significant step" towards restoring stability.




Afghanistan: An emerging democracy or a 'field of terror'?--  Analysts judged that "frenetic activity" against terror in Afghanistan has done little to "diminish insecurities."  The reemergence of the Taliban, explosion of poppy production and the weak central government demonstrate how "far away" Afghanistan is from "the path to a modern state."  A Pakistani outlet claimed that the "miserable" Afghan people recall "the Taliban era fondly."  Afghanistan's governent-funded Anis dissented, highlighting the nation's transition from "backwardness to advancement and prosperity."


Afghan writers warn that the nation is nearing a 'precipice'--  Afghan observers remained divided on the progress made towards reconstruction.  Critics asserted that warlord rivalries outside Kabul threatened to turn the nation back into a "field of terror, horror and harshness."  Corruption, red tape, and "ethnic, racial, linguistic, and religious discrimination" are undermining the Karzai government from within, according to Pashto-language Hewad.  Conversely, pro-government papers trumpeted the diminishing influence of "non-democratic politics and the rule of might" and blamed "foreign [read: neighborly] interference" for continued violence.


U.S. 'wishful thinking' and 'ignorance' make reconstruction more 'daunting'--  Contending that the U.S. is "in a hurry" to leave Afghanistan, a Russian commentator branded Mr. Bush's recent request for $800 million for Afghan reconstruction "peanuts."  Others argued that an Iraq "fixation" has diverted American money and attention away from Afghanistan, and "so estranged" other nations that garnering international support for reconstruction will be difficult.  According to Pakistan's centrist News, the U.S. policy of simultaneous "confidence" in anti-Taliban warlords and support for the Karzai government is working at "cross-purposes," and has yet to produce "the slightest sign of improvement."


ISAF expansion demonstrates NATO's new 'willingness'--  European writers billed ISAF expansion an important indication of NATO's commitment to reconstruction, but some remained skeptical whether democratic precepts can be instilled in Afghanistan's "clan society."  Germany's left-of-center Berliner Zeitung criticized Germany's deployment to "quiet" Kunduz; centrist Der Tagesspiegel judged the force insufficient to confront "opponents to peace."  Another commentator characterized deployment as an effort to "avoid a decision on Iraq."


EDITOR: Andrew Borda

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 44 reports from 12 countries, October 4 - 16, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Conflict, Complacency And Confusion On Global Security"


Philip Stevens maintained in the independent Financial Times (10/10):  "Most of the present threats to global security can be traced to the complacency of the 1990s....  To fret now about the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran is to be reminded of the nonchalance that greeted the accelerating nuclear programmes of India and Pakistan....  Afghanistan was left during the 1990s to the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  Saddam Hussein was allowed to flout the will of the international community.  After the initial promise of peace in Oslo, peace in the Middle East was pursued sporadically.  Western leaders acted decisively in the Balkans only when the television images of ethnic slaughter became too much for their voters....  America and Europe were both culpable in their indifference....  The world since September 11 has seen complacency give way to frenetic activity.  America and its coalition of the willing have fought two wars in as many years....  Yet the substitution of activity for inertia has done little to diminish the insecurities.  Al-Qaeda has been badly disrupted and the Saddam regime defeated, but still missing is any sense that the world's biggest nations can agree on what constitutes a coherent global security system....   The war in Iraq increasingly seems as much a symptom as the cause of the present transatlantic discord.  Mr. Bush's unilateralism collides with Jacques Chirac's search for a new balance of power.  Tony Blair's vision of a world directorate of the strongest nations does not explain how Washington is to be persuaded to exchange hegemony for leadership....  For all its division of the world into pliable friends and sworn enemies, the U.S. cannot establish a new world order alone....  As for Europe, its devotion to the rule of law ultimately depends on a capacity to uphold it with force....  The new threats do not allow for a neat global security system borrowed from history's textbooks.  The dangers are diverse, complex and asymmetrical....  The 1990s were lost to complacency.  We will all be losers if the succeeding decade is lost to division."


FRANCE:  "The U.S. Army Lacking In Resources"


Jean-Dominique Merchet wrote in left-of-center Liberation (10/10):  “The world’s number one army is short of personnel....  The situation is forcing Washington into some diplomatic and military changes.  Because it does not want to give in on the essential, namely the transfer of power in Iraq, the U.S. is trying to get its allies--mostly France--to be more involved in other theaters of operation, such as Afghanistan and the Balkans.  In a way Washington is sub-contracting military interventions which it considers secondary, in order to concentrate all of its resources on Iraq.”


GERMANY: “Silent Expansion”


Thomas Kroeter judged in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (10/16):  “While members of parliament and the public are debating how much sense the deployment of German forces to a further ‘island’ in Afghanistan makes, the government is declaring the whole country German operational area....  But is this decision the end of a political debate whose participants are aware of all its implications?  As a disciplined coalition partner, the Greens leave it up to the CSU to ask for the ‘uncertainties’ of the expansion of the Bundeswehr mandate.  The no by the FDP wanting to make its mark is one thing, but a responsible debate another....  The way the government is trying to sell the really new aspects of this new mandate in passing does not really hint at a good conscience.  There was much talk of politicians only being bound by their conscience lately.  Now the free members of parliament have the floor.”


“After Kundus”


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine commented (10/15):  "The plan to establish bases all over Afghanistan from which military pacification, political stabilization and economic reconstruction are to spread demonstrates the willingness to start the reorganization of the country in practice.  The road map for the framing of a constitution and political reforms in Afghanistan...which took on an air of increasing ghostliness because outside Kabul’s city limits no one was really interested in it, could now gain a new momentum.  However, doubts about whether these ideas can be implemented in a clan society geographically and ethnically divided are fuelled again and again by bloody fights between regional warlords and their private armies, which show how far away the path to a modern state in Afghanistan is.  This means also that the situation in the ‘pacified’ areas can change abruptly--with all the risks they entail for the foreign help, be it military or civilian.”


"Selling Of Indulgences At The Hindukush”


Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich judged (10/15):  “The German government was right to hesitate when the idea of a regional reconstruction team was born.  What would a few hundred soldiers be able to achieve?  To topple the provincial princes and their militia?  To collect taxes for the central power?  To enforce resolutions from Kabul?  Berlin chose Kundus in the North as post, because relatively little conflict is to be expected there--at the moment at least.  But what is the long-term strategy?  Where is this effort supposed to go?  In the business of peacekeeping, it is difficult to make predictions.  Maybe the mere presence of soldiers will suffice to provide more security to this country on its thorny path.  But in the German case, one can't help thinking that the deployment decision was made in order to avoid a decision on Iraq--selling of indulgences with soldiers.  They at least would have had the right to be informed about the strategic reflections on the deployment in North Afghanistan.  This is something the Bundestag will now discuss--after the decision has been made.”


"Black Afghan"


Damir Fras opined in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (10/15):  "The Bundeswehr mission is to contribute to the speeding up of the reconstruction in Afghanistan and the political stabilization of the country.  This can be done--at least theoretically.  For as a precaution, the German government chose as location for the deployment of its soldiers in what is in Afghanistan a quiet area.  The warlords have close ties to the Afghan Minister of Defense Fahim and therefore leave the central government of President Karzai’s interim government alone, as long as it doesn’t interfere in its business dealings.  As long as the Bundeswehr soldiers do the same, they will be welcome.  German Defense Minister Struck takes pains to affirm that the fight against drug smuggling and the cultivation of poppy is not the main task of the Bundeswehr commando in Kundus.  But when a truck loaded with dope passes a German patrol, he will have to go to great trouble to explain why the soldiers do not intervene.  One thing is clear already today: every Bundeswehr soldier is dependent on the goodwill of those Afghans who only wish to cultivate their black Afghan [poppy] in peace.  This makes the German mission really unpredictable.”


"Limited Liability"


Christoph von Marshall opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (10/15):  "The UN mandate by which German politicians are so impressed leaves the opponents of the Karzai government, the provincial warlords, cold.  The German ISAF Commander in Kabul, Goetz Gliemeroth, warned of an increasing danger of attacks, even in already stabilized regions....  [At the border to Pakistan] solid peace troops would be urgently needed.  But no one wants to expose its own soldiers to the risks.  Generally speaking, the scope and equipment of ISAF are not sufficient to confront the opponents to peace.  It will not improve when NATO will assume command before long.  The concept is adjusted to the spare resources.  Combined reconstruction teams of soldiers and technicians are sent to half-pacified regions in the hope that over time the stabilization will spread to unpacified regions.  This may succeed and is certainly better than waiting in Kabul for the failure of the entire Afghanistan mission.  But the risk that the peace opponents gain the upper hand in the end is high.  Therefore, a UN mandate does not offer protection.  It does not render one invulnerable.”


“In The Quiet North”


Center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung judged (10/10):  "For months, the public has been worried by reports on fighting in Afghanistan with remnants of the Taliban.  What is really alarming is recent news from the north of the country...where the warlords Rashid Dostum and Mohammad Atta have clashed near the town of Mazar-I Sharif.  It is reported that about 80 people were killed in heavy fighting....  Both sides support the central government.   The more frightening is the outbreak of violence in a region, which up to now has been regarded as calm and safe....  The British are currently caught in the line of fire.  In not so distant Kundus, the Bundeswehr will possibly provide similar reconstruction help.  But what if the present calm there turns into violent combats?”


"Major Overhaul”


Klaus Frankenberger commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/7):  "As later corrections are better than none at all, the White House finally assumes the reigns of coordination for Iraq and for Afghanistan, where remnants of the old regime still wreak havoc.  Before the war, Washington displayed a lot of expertise, but as the Pentagon saw this as unwelcome competition, nothing came of it.  It is for this reason too that the situation is so unstable.  It would be good if by centralizing control, which is an admission of previous shortcomings, an end would be put to wishful thinking permeated by ignorance and a know-it-all attitude, which is not reassuring, does not set reconstruction in motion, brings no stabilization to the region--and for which America will have to pay dearly.”


“Condoleezza Rice's New Role”


Frank Herold commented in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (10/7):  "Condoleezza Rice interpreted her role as National Security Advisor very differently from Henry Kissinger or Zbignev Brzezinski.  The two men saw themselves as super-secretaries of state, defense and intelligence, hardly any less powerful than the President himself.  Ms. Rice preferred to remain in the background.  She did not seem to want to be anything different than what her title says: an advisor for her boss, who holds back in public.  This was not being modest, but wise, since she was able to keep her reputation as the most brilliant personality in the President's environment.  No matter how many foreign and security policy failures there were--and there were many in the recent months--the responsibility was always with others: Messrs. Powell, Rumsfeld or Tenet.  This will now change....  The appointment [of Condoleezza Rice] is the clearest admission by the President, that something is going very wrong in both countries [Iraq and Afghanistan].  Bush needed to mobilize Rice, because he knows that you can't win elections with successes in Iraq or Afghanistan, but that you can easily lose them with continued failures."


RUSSIA: "The U.S. Loses Interest In Afghanistan"


Vladimir Berezovskiy opined in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (10/15): "Obviously, the Americans are in a hurry to phase out their operation, having no interest in Afghanistan anymore.  The $800 million President George Bush has requested for Afghanistan is quite indicative.  It is peanuts for a country that has been 'bombed back into the Stone Age.'"


NORWAY: “New Suffering for Afghanistan”


The newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (10/10):  “One of the most difficult tasks in the laborious work to restore Afghan society is to bring the unruly warlords under military control.  For too long they have made their living by the sword, fighting each other as well as the Taliban.  The Taliban is far from dead, and their attacks are a hindrance to economic and political developments in the south and the border area against Pakistan....  For this reason it is important that NATO as well as other countries expand the area under ISAF control....  This is a necessary task that must be carried out in parallel with the civil work to rebuild Afghanistan.”


“From Kabul”


Christian-democratic Vaart Land commented (10/8): “NATO has decided to increase the alliance’s presence in Afghanistan beyond that of Kabul, but will do so only after a new mandate from the U.N… By signaling a more long-term engagement, not only limited to the Afghan capital, NATO has taken a step in the right direction. It certainly won’t solve all the problems, but it gives new hope.”




THAILAND: “Afghanistan Addicted To Drug Profits”


The top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post stated (10/10): “The United States invaded Afghanistan two years ago to rid the country of the Taliban leadership and bring about a resemblance of peace to a country which had suffered over two decades of almost random violence.  It has been only partly successful.  The lead up to the Oct 7 anniversary saw the most bloodshed spilt since the overthrow of the Islamic militia, with more than 300 people killed since the start of August....  People on the ground, namely aid agencies, reported this week that narco-terrorism was by far the main cause of violence in the provinces, and not the Taliban or al-Qaida.  Afghanistan produced 12% of the world’s opium in 2001 under Taliban rule.  Last year, it produced 76%.  The country director of the charity CARE said this week that revenue from the poppy trade amounted to more than all the humanitarian assistance combined....  The warnings of the aid agencies seem to be falling on ears only wanting to hear about the squashing of an already decimated Taliban and an al-Qaida forced into hiding.  It is imperative that all of Afghanistan’s 32 provinces come under the control of the central Kabul government as quickly as possible.  The longer this is not the case, the more difficult the task will become.”




AFGHANISTAN: "People Will Vote For Those With Ideas For Development"


Government-funded Anis declared (10/15):  "People will no longer vote for those who carry arms and authority. They will vote for those who have ideas on how to develop Afghanistan....  It should be said that former military-political regimes must completely change their policies and acquaint themselves with the new rules in the country.  Otherwise it will be they who will be the biggest losers in the Afghan political contest." 


"New Elections Are Prerequisite For Ending Warlord Rule"   


The government-funded, weekly Kabul Times commented (10/15):  "Now that we have got a law to organize the activities and the functioning of political parties, we expect the situation to improve considerably....  The law has taken into consideration many contingencies and all in all, it is a liberal law....  It is a good prerequisite for putting an end to the widespread rule by warlords....  The party that wins the majority in the elections will form a government.  Compared to the present coalition set up, in which every mojahedin organization grabbed a few portfolios, this government is expected to produce a concerted style of action."


"Afghanistan's Officials And The Rejection Of Coalition Government"


Kabul's Farda editorialized (10/12):  "The fact is that the current ruling authorities of Afghanistan are suffering a sort of mental dispersion and confusion....  After the collapse of the Taliban, the warlords who had fled to the mountains and deserts once again availed themselves of the opportunity, moved toward the cities and occupied key government positions.  In this way, they considered and declared their occupation of these offices as a victory against the Taliban!  From the other side, we should not accept that the emergence of Mr. Hamed Karzai in Afghanistan's political arena was based on tribal, national, or democratic roots, therefore, we cannot give him the credit for leadership of the country.  In the same way, we cannot name him for any achievement in balancing the political and military powers of the country, because during the last two years of his government Mr. Karzai has been unable to win the support of even 10 Afghans to serve him as bodyguards instead of American forces....  Now that the dominance of non-democratic politics and the rule of might is day by day diminishing in the country, people like Mr. Hamed Karzai have also started considering the acceptance and application of democratic principles as worthless and trivial.  Despite these facts, the people of Afghanistan hope that they will live their future life in a peaceful environment under a sound and lawful system free of all kinds of prejudice, fraud, and intimidation.


"Vast Conspiracies Against The Jihadi Elements"


Dari-language Peshawar Shahadat asserted (10/11): "From the one side, the Westernized members of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan are continuously expressing their intentions and interest in the holding of elections and bringing of democracy, and they are not hiding their sensitivities and opposition when compared to the religious and Jihadi personalities [Islamic politicians associated with war against Soviets] in the government in their statements....  It has been seen and read in every ceremony or political meeting and in every press article or editorial that most of the Jihadi elements are busy vilifying each other, and they are reproaching and denigrating their leaders.  Of course, the role of the religious groups in the government needs more attention and focus, because they have at least some skill to follow thoughtful policies and give a direction to all Jihadi elements and forces, and remedy the vacuums, griefs, pains, disunity and discord....  The foreign forces...are busy in preparations to permanently sideline the Jihadis, and they are even thinking of contacting and coming to terms with the Taliban."


"Foreign Interference And The Absence Of Democratic System Are The Causes Of Instability"


Kabul's Mojahed observed (10/8):  "The military campaign against terrorism, which is being launched with the military support of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan and the international peacekeeping forces, is the obvious factor in rehabilitating economic foundations, improving education, ensuring a prosperous life for the people, providing compatriots with civil freedoms, accelerating the process of democracy in the field of politics, and ensuring stability.  However, we should be sure that it is foreign interference and the absence of democracy in the country that are the main causes of instability....  The obvious signs of this interference can be seen in the Emergency Loya Jerga and in the Constitution Scrutiny and the Constitution Compiling commissions.  The ongoing practical measures to form the national army and the police force cannot meet the requirements of society.   This does not mean that Afghanistan does not need international assistance.  The fact that the war-shattered Afghanistan cannot be rebuilt without international assistance is beyond any doubt.  It can be said, however, that the policy pursued by the international community has not been appropriate.   Our people urge the international community, and particularly the U.S., to pay attention to Afghan civilians, to be aware of the pains of this society, but not to ignore people's sufferings.  They have not taken measures to restore stability.  Rather they caused instability and chaos.  We say that real peace and lasting stability can only be ensured if the U.S. and the international community introduce a national and democratic government in line with people's wishes and if people can be convinced that this government will reflect their desires and culture.  Such a democratic government is not only in the interest of the people, but it is also effective for international stability."


"What People Say"


Dari/Pashto Kabul Weekly remarked (10/8): "Robbers and thieves are arrested but are released later because they pay bribes to corrupt security officials.  Authorities ignore the problem.  When are we going to enforce security in Kabul?...  Legal consultants appointed in civil services to put an end to red tape and corruption have such a bad attitude towards poor civil servants that no-one wants to come to work anymore.  The Supreme Court should first reform the ways of its own personnel."


"Setting Schools On Fire Is Proof Of Having No Culture"


Pashto-language Arman-e Melli (10/6):  "Over the past few months we have repeatedly heard worrying and regrettable reports from both the domestic and foreign media about the burning down of schools in some provinces of the country. In addition to these acts of provocation, we have come to realize that our country's internal and external foes, who have been away from education for around 25 years, bear very strong enmity towards the children of our compatriots. They cannot accept our children receiving an education that will help our country to prosper and enjoy a better future, which also belongs to them. Schools and colleges are the places where the future generation of a country is educated....  Based on Islamic teachings and the current circumstances, boys and girls are entitled to receive an education and to continue it. Boys and girls were given the chance of an education after the establishment of a legitimate and democratic government in the country. Bearing in mind the expectations of parents, these girls of today are pursuing their education. There is no doubt that these girls will be the doctors, engineers, politicians, teachers and journalists of tomorrow.  We would also like to avail ourselves of the intellect and power of the women's movement as the neighbouring countries of Pakistan and Iran do.  However, it is very regrettable that some people, who are without culture, constantly burn down schools and colleges. They warn girls' fathers to stop their daughters attending school. If we assess their activities and their anti-human ideologies, we can see that they are also the foes of education and of our country's development and prosperity.  We hope that our foreign enemies, and particularly supporters of terrorists and provocative elements, will be sympathetic to our damaged country. They should take into consideration international circumstances, and adopt logical and creative measures against extremism and terrorists. They have to refrain from demolishing our country and tormenting its people, who have been affected by war. What they choose for themselves, they should choose for us too. We believe that the nights of helplessness will pass or, according to the Afghan proverb, the winter will pass, but the blackness will remain.... We hope that security officials of the transitional government and elders, the elite and intellectuals will honestly fulfil their duty by detecting those responsible for these acts of provocation and informing the government security departments [about them]. In this way, the hands of these provocative elements could be cut off and their faces could be exposed."


"Hoping For An Efficient, Effective And Developed Administration"


Pashto-language Hewad asserted (10/6):  "We realize that the chaotic administration was inherited by the current government from its predecessors.  This administration has been a field for experiments in the last two and half decades....  It is evident that, given the circumstances, the administration is sinking into an ocean of mischief.  Bribe-taking, embezzlement, nationalism, supporting one's ethnic group, racial, linguistic and religious discrimination and bureaucracy have grown stronger in the administration, and the administration is gradually moving towards self-destruction. It is also losing credibility in society.  After the Bonn Agreement and especially after the Emergency Grand Assembly, the nation expected that constructive measures would be taken in terms of administrative reforms and that the country would advance towards rehabilitation and development.  Nonetheless, unfortunately, this matter got worse then expected.  There are several reasons for this, and the most important ones could be considered the weak economy, regression and the strong political illiteracy among our people and in society.  Some people who are in favour of war still consider getting to power as prize and booty.  Under the present sensitive circumstances, had everyone ignored their personal interests and benefits, had everyone sincerely worked for the rehabilitation of the system and infrastructure of the country, we would have overcome several existing problems by now....  We should gradually take productive steps with a resolution to create a developed, influential and active administration under the leadership of Hamed Karzai and with the spiritual and material assistance of the international community in our country. It is only under these circumstances that our country would be able to develop and rehabilitate."


"Do Not Take Afghanistan Once Again To The Edge Of A Precipice"


Government-funded Anis stated (10/6):  "Following the defeat of the Taliban, the commanders once again got an opportunity to rule.  Now that the government is well into its second year in Afghanistan and Afghanistan is getting closer to the Loya Jerga, elections and a constitution, a great number of these commanders have initiated negotiations to form a new alliance....  A defeated enemy is thought of as a wounded snake waiting for an opportunity to strike back.  Do we want to give an opportunity, by taking new positions, to the enemy to turn this unfortunate land once again into a field of struggling, terror and horror?...  Today the people of Afghanistan, particularly its authorities, should do their utmost to benefit from every opportunity for reconstructing Afghanistan; because the international community will not be with us for ever.  Negligence is there and opportunities will be missed by being involved in hostile attempts.  We should primarily think about the reconstruction of Afghanistan today and later on, if there is an opportunity, think about political struggle, but only political and unarmed struggle....  But let us not take Afghanistan once again to the edge of a precipice and not pave the way for al-Qaida and the Taliban to turn the county, once again, into a field of terror, horror and harshness."


"Approval Of The Law On Political Parties Is A Step Towards Democracy" 


Government-funded Anis held (10/5):  "Since the logical and scientific inclinations are conspicuous in the reconstruction policies of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan, the political unit itself, in the process of execution of its political duties, not only respects the principle of justice and freedom, but also observes it emphatically.  Therefore, the charter on democracy and political and social systems will find its place in our society.  Fortunately, the main stream of the official policies has been influenced by it.  This is a clear example of respecting the will and demands of the people and leaving the responsibility with the people to choose a political and social system....  Under the influence of the new political conditions in Afghanistan and the international community for creation of a sustainable civil society based on law, justice and democracy, our political system and our people expressed their will to base our system of justice and fairness of the country according to it.  In order to function in accordance with the rules set by the Loya Jerga, to understand the objective realities of the country, to apply scientific and systematic principles while proposing advanced national plans, programmes and laws, the political system of our country has made and is making efforts in a responsible way to democratize the Afghan society and implement reconstruction policies....  The process of establishing political pluralism, through putting into effect the law on political parties according to the new constitution is proof of the fact that oppressive monopolistic despotism, fighting intellectualism, dogmatic thoughts works no more in this land, and the political and social environment of the country doesn't accept them....  [The law on political parties] proves that the Afghan people, having the right for political freedom and expression of their opinions, will establish their political parties to accelerate the process of reforms and new changes that are really democratic and national.  It paves the way for the new Afghanistan to move from backwardness to advancement and prosperity.  Yes! The law on political parties is a window open into a garden of Afghan thoughts to enrich the political and social doctrines of the new system in Afghanistan.  Its aim is to reflect the Afghan collective thought as well as to pave the way for more Afghan collective thoughts in the process of changing and reconstructing the new Afghanistan through an active participation of the parties and political organizations in.  It will come true when national interests are virtually promoted, social justice is maintained and, finally, democracy is built and civil society is created."


"The Bell Tolls"


The government-funded, weekly Kabul Times wrote (10/5):  "For more than a year, CARE, the Centre on International Cooperation (CIC) and many others have urged the international community to wake up to Afghanistan's deteriorating security environment.  With no peacekeepers outside of Kabul, and an Afghan security force years away from full preparedness, it is little surprise that Afghanistan is becoming an increasingly dangerous place, and reconstruction is slowing down.  Many areas of the country are now off limits to the aid community....  As the number of attacks against the UN and NGOs increased over the last year, Afghanistan's hopes of reconstruction grew increasingly fragile.  Afghanistan's security is threatened by (1) militants dedicated to regime overthrow, (2) Afghan warlords and (3) Narco-criminality.  Individually, these are each serious threats, together, their danger is compounded....  Despite concerted international efforts since January 2002, terrorist threats persist from al-Qaida, neo-Taliban forces and their militant allies. Afghans claim that this threat is magnified by the lack of an adequate border security force, enabling interference by anti-Western militants in neighbouring states, who are enraged at the prospect of a strong and cohesive pro-Western Afghanistan. International efforts to build an effective border police must move from rhetoric to reality with urgency, while more must be done to ensure that southern Pashtuns are not further alienated by upcoming political processes such as the Constitutional Loya Jerga [Grand Assembly] and the national elections, slated for June 2004....  Warlords continue to control armies that dwarf Afghanistan's national security forces in size....  These warlords do not want regime overthrow--they have everything to gain from a weak national security structure, and a government straitjacketed by a lack of funding and capacity.  Until these forces are absorbed and demobilized, they will threaten Afghanistan's security. Warlord power will endure as long as two key objectives of U.S. foreign policy (the war against terror and the establishment of a strong central government) work at cross-purposes....  It is critical for the U.S. to find a way to defeat extremism in Afghanistan that also limits the power of Afghanistan's private militia leaders....  With a weak national security structure and limited rule of law, reconstruction stalling, and extreme poverty everywhere, no wonder organized crime is growing.  The most telling indicator is poppy cultivation.... Afghanistan's share of global opium production went from 12 per cent in 2001 to 76 per cent in 2002....  The international community should acknowledge the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, and articulate the immediate steps it will take to address extremist militancy, warlordism and nacro-criminality."


"Security Instability Prepares The Ground For Destructive Terrorist Elements"


Pashto-language Erada noted (10/4):  "The Bonn Agreement and the interim and transitional administrations that came after it have attracted not only the attention of Afghans living within the country, but also those living outside and even foreigners.  It was believed  that there would be many improvements in terms of establishing a tranquil and secure environment and peaceful life for the nation.  Peace and tranquility would rule the country and constructive steps would be taken in terms of rehabilitating and reconstructing the country.     We are currently facing two serious problems that greatly affect our tranquil and peaceful life, or in other words, that threaten all spheres of life. The first thing that is threatening peace in various regions of the country is the partisan and guerrilla attacks of destructive elements in various regions of Afghanistan and their poisonous propaganda against the transitional government of Afghanistan.  The second problem is robberies committed by irresponsible armed men in the  capital and other provinces of the country....  Peace and security in society are as essential to  citizens as water and air are for life. The unstable and insecure environment established in our society is either because the security authorities are shirking their responsibilities, or every incident is based on understandings between the security authorities and these irresponsible people. This situation has also prepared the ground for several other criminal acts like smuggling, and more importantly, the destructive activities of terrorist networks such as al-Qaida....  It is up to the security authorities to pay the utmost attention and concentrate on ensuring peace and security.  By paying attention to security and stability the destructive acts of terrorist elements could be prevented." 


INDIA:  “The Ideology Of Terror"


Narendar Pani held in the pro-economic-reform Economic Times (10/10):  "On the global stage, President Bush's war on terrorism has got so deeply entwined with the situation in Iraq that the U.S. chooses to provide little more than lip service to the cross-border terrorism in Kashmir.  And within India the focus is so much on Pakistan-related terrorist activity that the battle against other terrorists is easily forgotten....  Terrorism must then be seen also as a route to power. Those seeking power through terrorist means could even look around for disputes that would justify their means. If one cause fails, another will be found. An effective strategy to combat terrorism cannot then be preoccupied with dispute resolution. It must effectively target the viability of terrorism as a route to power....  The combination of a strong anti-terrorist state and an effective democracy should then be a guarantee against terrorism....  Fighting terrorism is then not a matter of only seeking effective solutions to the problems in Kashmir, Telangana or elsewhere.  It is also a matter of removing the flaws in our democracy that allow terror to remain an effective political weapon.”


"Bush's Blind Spot"


The Mumbai-based, left-of-center Free Press Journal declared (10/9):  "Does President Bush know what he is doing in Asia, the Muslim countries in particular?  Bush goes out of his way to uphold the right of Israel to carry out raids deep inside Syria, America's staunchest ally, Tony Blair's Britain has condemned the Israeli action as unacceptable....  Coming to the sub-continent, Bush's pointman, Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of state, goes to Pakistan to praise Musharraf for his efforts in fighting terrorism....  All reports from Afghanistan indicate the swelling strength of Taliban....  The U.S. forces still have no clue about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, as he gets safe haven in Pakistani hideouts....  The Armitage praise would embolden Musharraf to plan other Kargils.  And that is the time when India has to do what Bush has recommended: to strike at the root of terrorism, namely the hundreds of jihadi camps run by Pakistan in occupied Kashmir." 


IRAN: "Multiethnic Afghan Army Preferable To Expanding ISAF"


The official Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran's external service in Dari broadcast (10/14):  "Because of ongoing insecurity and clashes in various areas of Afghanistan, the UN and the Afghan transitional government have been wanting the expansion of ISAF's activities beyond Kabul [for a long time now]....  Despite the presence of NATO, clashes and insecurity have not calmed down in this country....  Bearing in mind the current situation, the Security Council's agreement to broaden the ISAF mandate appears to be a significant step.  But a point worth considering is that the need to extend the ISAF mission countrywide means expanding [presumably the number of] international forces in Afghanistan.  Taking into account the current international situation, particularly in Iraq, the decision will probably face some problems.  Some experts believe that it will be difficult for the member states to increase the number of their forces throughout Afghanistan because of the current security situation in that country and the problems that the international forces, particularly U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, are facing.  Therefore, the final solution to the problem is to seek the international community's assistance and cooperation in order to establish a durable peace and security and to form a powerful national army with the participation of all tribes in Afghanistan."


"Failure Starting American Occupiers In Afghanistan"


English-language Tehran Keyhan International held (10/8):  Two years have passed since the unprovoked American military attack on the impoverished nation of Afghanistan and its subsequent occupation, but the mighty U.S. is still at war with poorly equipped but determined fighters, whom Washington calls remnants of the Taliban.  We are not sure whether those who attack American occupation forces with frequency almost on a daily basis are really the Taliban militia which was set up in the mid 1990s with weapons supplied by the CIA, training provided by Pakistan's ISI and funds from Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden of the Washington sponsored network al-Qaida.  However, the facts cannot be denied that soldiers of the world's sole superpower despite dislodging their local lackeys from power are as jittery as jackasses when faced with resistance from the average Afghan who resents occupation....  Two years on and the state of affairs is yet to show the slightest signs of improvement....  Terrorism continues to haunt the peaceful populace as is evident from the events in neighbouring Pakistan where Taliban-type anarchic elements are having a field day of violence and bloodshed under the eyes of a government that has been rewarded by Washington for cooperation in the so-called campaign against terrorism....  The Americans, coming from a wild west background, are grossly incompetent in guaranteeing law and order in any land they invade, but it cannot be denied that they are crafty to the core.  They do not want the world to learn about what actually occurred on September 11, 2001....  They merely want to fool public opinion around the globe so that they would have a variety of pretexts for staying put in Afghanistan--or for that matter in Iraq--in order to intimidate countries refusing to kowtow to the U.S....  Afghans have a history of being a thorn in the side of any infidel occupation force, and the day may not be far when we see the eclipse of American power, thanks to the deeply embedded anti-Islamic tendencies in the U.S. Administration."


PAKISTAN: "Going Beyond Kabul"


The center-left independent national English Dawn opined (10/16):  "What the country needs is a broad-based regime.  The Karzai administration is dominated by the Tajiks.  This has alienated the Pushtoons, who constitute Afghanistan's largest ethnic community.  The fact that the Taliban were predominantly Pushtoon should not stand in the way of their adequate representation in the present administrative set-up.  One doubts if without a political agreement for a more broad-based government, foreign soldiers alone can restore peace in the country."


"Is Kabul Moving Forward?"


Najmuddin A. Shaikh observed in in the center-left independent national English Dawn (10/15):  "Pakistan must do what it can to seal the border with Afghanistan.  This is required as much for Pakistan's own economic (smuggling) and human (narcotics trafficking) as it is for helping Karzai cope with Afghanistan's other problems.  Pakistan must intensify ongoing efforts to persuade the moderate Taliban on Pakistan's soil to make peace with Karzai and the Americans.  If this is to succeed, the extremist Taliban must be isolated and their access to Pakistani mosques and madrassas for political sloganeering or more nefarious purposes forbidden."


"Even More"


The center-right national English Nation held (10/14):  "General Musharraf has bent over backwards to please Washington since 9/11, for which he has faced sharp criticism at home.  Judging from a statement by a military official of U.S. Pacific Command, the U.S. is still dissatisfied and wants him to do 'even more.'  Washington would like him to help crush the armed resistance to the Karzai government by denying the rebels sanctuary inside our tribal areas.  This has led the government to take punitive measures, which are breeding disaffection in the tribal belt.  Over the last few months Pakistan is being pressed very hard to commit troops to Iraq.  Washington hopes that by December Pakistan might meet the demand.  This by a country whose military officials’ maps indicate the LoC as the international border!  This alone indicates where American priorities lie, and how far Pakistan can rely on the U.S."


"Pakistan Should Do Even More?"


The rightist, English-language Pakistan Observer noted (10/14):  "The United States wants Pakistan to do 'even more' in the ongoing war against terrorism....  The nation is understandably fed up with U.S. demands to 'do more' and 'to do even more' to assist her in its fight against terror.  Pakistan is a front-line state and is already doing everything possible to fight terrorism.....  After the attack on World Trade Centre and Pentagon, Pakistan provided logistic support and shared intelligence information with the U.S. to wage war against Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan against the wishes of the Pakistani people....  Pakistan is thus doing everything possible as a dignified member of the U.S.-led anti-terrorism coalition.  And what is Pakistan getting in return for its outright support to the United States' global war against terrorism?  The Bush administration inducted a hostile Northern Alliance Government in Afghanistan amidst assurances to the contrary."


"Better Late Than Never"


The center-right national English Nation stated (10/13):  "As the hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban suspects, and now for those who protected those who harbored them, continues in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, the FATA legislators have threatened the government with retaliation if it is not immediately stopped....  Perhaps the Bush Administration doubts Pakistan’s sincerity despite our complete submission in the so-called War on Terror because the operation coincided with Deputy Secretary Armitage’s recent visit to Islamabad.  The failure of the government to explain how, after the Northern Alliance’s complete takeover in Kabul, the crossing of Taliban activists taking refuge in the tribal areas is possible, given the ethnic and geographical proximity between the Pushtun population straddling the Durand Line.  Having been left in the lurch previously, there should have been more questions than answers from our side."


"Baseless Allegation By Afghan Rulers"


Leading mass circulation Urdu Jang (10/13):  "Karzai’s control in Afghanistan is confined to Kabul only and tribal chiefs are controlling rest of the country.  And Afghan government failed in controlling its opponents.  As usual Zalme Khalil Zade allegating Pakistan for all this.  The way Northern Alliance favored Russia and India and went against Pakistanis a clear ungrateful attitude and Afghan government must do something in this direction."


"Factional Fighting"


The centrist national English News argued (10/10):  "Karzai’s difficulties are compounded by the kind of government structured by the United States in Afghanistan after the religious militia was ousted from power.  Torn between confidence in the Northern Alliance which led the liberation war and pragmatism the Americans balanced the distribution of power with the result that while the Pashtun Afghans purportedly exercised power the Northern Alliance, especially the Tajiks could act independently.  This badly hampered administration with the two main stakeholders in the government working at cross-purposes.  Pakistan has frequently had a taste of this dichotomy in the Afghan government with its various Ministers blowing hot and cold at the same time."


"Afghanistan Be Saved From Defiance Of Warlords"


Leading mass circulation Urdu Jang observed (10/10):  "The United States has been continuing with its policy of supporting certain warlords and taking action against certain others.  This shows that the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan is not among the top U.S. priorities.  If no attention is being paid to control these warlords, then the bloodshed which has been continuing in Afghanistan for the last twenty-one years would further gain momentum and its negative impact would also affect the neighboring countries.  The international community should pay due attention towards the U.S. policy of setting up a showpiece and symbolic government in Kabul and allowing the various warlords to play their game with impunity outside the capital."


"Today’s Afghanistan"


Sensationalist pro-Jihad Urdu Ummat noted (10/10):  "The Taliban who, according to U.S. claims were ousted or eradicated from Afghanistan, have taken control of at least five provinces in Afghanistan.  The popularity of Taliban is growing in Afghanistan with each passing day and the people still remember their peaceful era.  There is no doubt that with the growing tyranny and lawlessness under the Karzai government, which is patronized by the U.S, the Taliban or Usama bin Laden might return to Afghanistan or some other Mullah Omar comes and launch a jihad against these imperialistic forces."


"Failure Of U.S. In Afghanistan"


Karachi-based, right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu Jasarat (10/10):  "The United States and its puppet government have failed to establish their rule in Afghanistan even after the passage of two years and the situation in Kabul is still precarious.  The Taliban have emerged as a new force and maintain control over various provinces.  After its defeat, the United States is now trying to have some sort of rapprochement with any Taliban group.  Whatever might be the case, one thing is quite clear that the United States has failed in Afghanistan.  It has not been able to capture Usama bin Laden or Mullah Omar.  Nor its established government is having any success.  The elements, which were earlier cooperating with Hamid Karzai, have now turned into rebels.  The U.S. is putting the blame of the failure of Karzai government over Pakistan notwithstanding the fact that it was not Pakistan’s responsibility to establish peace in Afghanistan."


"Resurgence of Taliban in Pushtun Areas"


Ahmed Rashid observed in the center-right national English Nation (10/9):  "In Quetta, where thousands of Taliban fighters are living in mosques and madrassas backed by a myriad of militant Pakistani groups, the Taliban are equally confident and scoff at such comments. "The puppet regime of (President Hamid) Karzai is on the verge of collapse and the Americans will flee Afghanistan," says a Taliban mullah in Quetta.  After evening prayers in the Pushtunabad suburb of Quetta, tens of thousands of Afghan and Pakistani Taliban --distinctive by their black clothes, black turbans, long beards and unkempt long hair--pour into the streets."


"U.S. Plan To Eliminate Taliban Could Not Be Fulfilled"


Urdu-language Pakistan asserted (10/8):  "The U.S. had given a free hand to Afghan warlords so that its crusade against the Taliban could succeed.  The local Afghans are fed up of this scenario and recall the Taliban era fondly when peace and stability were exemplary.  It seems that Afghanistan is once again standing at the threshold of 1992, when the civil war had made the Afghans’ life miserable.  One reason behind Taliban’s reappearance is the civilians’ disappointment at unfulfilled U.S. promises.  The Afghans had thought that U.S. assistance would rid them of poverty, but despite the passage of two years, this has not come to pass."




NIGERIA: "George Bush Is Nothing But A Villian"


Independent, pro-Islamic Zaria al-Mizan asserted (10/8): "The mad taste for Iraqi oil has transformed the U.S. president George Bush into a villain and cannibal of the 21st century while...bin Laden now a hero.  Nearly two years since the Unites States last had a real clue about the whereabouts of the man President Bush once said he wanted "dead or alive."...  The Pakistani government, which officially is allied with the United States in the manhunt, is trying to assert control over hundreds of miles of this all-but-lawless frontier with Afghanistan, a place that is home to the same Pashtun tribes that spawned the Taliban next door; Pakistan was once a main sponsor of the Taliban regime, which hosted al-Qaida and allowed it to flourish.  The Pakistani government's authority over the tribal frontier remains limited....  That border is not where the highest-ranking al-Qaida leaders captured in Pakistan so far have generally been tracked down....  Yet so much about the border region makes it seem like an ideal destination for somebody trying to hide from virtually the entire world.  Cleaved from one another by a colonial boundary, the Pashtuns on either side of the border share the same language, history, and culture.  On the Pakistani side, a coalition of religious parties swept to victory in parliamentary elections last year in a frontier province, posting a challenge to Musharraf's secular government. And the tribal areas are characterized by what Najam Sethi, a Pakistani newspaper editor, called 'rabid anti-Americanism.'"




CANADA: "Iraq Invasion Is Now Afghanistan's Problem Too"


Jeffrey Simpson editorialized in the leading centrist Globe and Mail (10/9):  "Canada has just lost two lives in Afghanistan.  We're spending about $1-billion in that country, tying aid, military deployment and diplomatic expenditures together.  Are we making a difference?  Is anybody?  At one level, the answer is resoundingly yes. Afghanistan and the entire world is much better off without the Taliban regime of theocratic zealots who welcomed Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida.  Military gains should not be obscured by the fact that Mr. Bin Ladin and other al-Qaida members remain on the loose, and that fighting occasionally breaks out between the Taliban and U.S. or Pakistani forces.  Nor should the political gains be ignored. A semblance of a central government is operating in Kabul and trying to extend its sway over the entire country, albeit with mixed success.  Local warlords are sending some money to the central government, but they retain most of it for themselves.  And the drug trade--the only part of the old Afghan economy that functioned--is back.  Rebuilding Afghanistan was always going to be a Herculean task.  The country was medieval in many ways....  At least Afghanistan does not now threaten others, as it did vicariously under the Taliban.  But nobody should think that, because Afghanistan has taken a back seat to Iraq in Western consciousness, the country is on the sure path to stability....  Quite apart from the inherent challenges of stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq made the task even more daunting, perhaps even impossible.  The Iraq fixation of the warriors inside the Bush administration obviously diverted U.S. attention and money from Afghanistan....  But many other countries are now so estranged from the U.S. that garnering more support for anything the U.S. tries, including reconstructing Afghanistan, has become more difficult."



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