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Ennahar Online, March 11, 2009

Lakhdar Brahimi: We have not much helped Afghanistan

“We are now paying the price of early mistakes,” says Mr. Brahimi, that “almost all” has become worse in the country since the Bonn conference

The UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, who had participated in the reconstruction of Afghanistan after the Taliban, said that the country is in the process of ruin, in an interview published Tuesday by the U.S. weekly The Nation.

Lakhdar Brahimi
Lakhdar Brahimi in the Bonn Conference 2001

Mr. Brahimi, a veteran Algerian diplomat, had presided in the 2001 Bonn conference, which allowed the installation of the administration of President Hamid Karzaï of Afghanistan after the American offensive that drove the Taliban from power.

“We are now paying the price of early mistakes,” says Mr. Brahimi, that “almost all” has become worse in the country since the Bonn conference.

The next conference on Afghanistan, scheduled for March 31 in The Hague and organized at the initiative of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “comes after six very long years of waste,” he says.

Mr. Brahimi said he pleaded for a new conference in Bonn in 2003, but “nobody listened” at the time and attention of President George W. Bush was fully turned to Iraq.

According to him, the basis which the President Karzaï is too narrow and the international community had no common strategy in recent years, if not carry a vague “war against terrorism”.

The Taliban “are not universally popular in Afghanistan,” said the diplomat, but “I fear that the current government is not in a better position than the Moudjahidins” that led to the withdrawal of the Soviet invasion but broke before being in their turn ousted by the Taliban in 1996.

According to him, the Obama administration should not call President Karzai, possible candidate for his own succession, as a member of the Bush administration. “President Karzai quite well served his country in very complex and difficult circumstances”. “We, the international community, have not helped much,” he says.

Category: Warlords, US-NATO, Protest - Views: 14840