Comments on my November 3 Afghanistan Note

As always many of my friends have made interesting comments
on my latest note on Afghanistan. I start with an exchange with an Afghan
friend, which was not a response to my November 3 note. He is a business student
in Kabul and I omit his name for security reasons.

November 2, 2009

Dear Sir,

Nowadays there might be some unexpected changes in our
country.

Hamid Karzai has won the first election and the American
government would like to renounce the election process. So, the people of our
country are of the view that the America government is making Karzai accept the
conditions they are giving him in order to stay more in Afghanistan and to
follow up or achieve their long term goals and strategy.

Our people are very concern about Swine Flu, which is
nowadays seen in Afghanistan; therefore government announced Holliday for 15
days in Afghanistan for All schools and Universities.

Your friend,

XXXX

*******

Dear XXXX,

Thanks for your reply. It was not the American government
that "renounce the election process", but Abdullah
Abdullah and hundreds of Afghans who submitted complaints to the UN Electoral
Complaints Commission. That Commission, headed by a Canadian (I had dinner with
him at the Canadian Embassy), investigated all serious complaints and
recommended throwing out certain ballot boxes as a result of its finding. This
reduced Mr. Karzai’s votes to less than fifty percent. The American government
pressured Mr. Karzai and the Afghan election board appointed by President
Karzai to accept the findings of the UN Commission.

Do you think that President Karzai’s government is effect
and reasonably honest?

Warren

********

Dear Sir,

You are absolutely right; the situation I have discussed is
what the people think.

As I am here; and had contact with different people of our
regions, before starting the election process Mr. Abdullah Abdullah spent a lot
of money in 34 province of Afghanistan to win the election as well as Hamid
Karzai with the groups of his party Ministers, commanders and elders like Rasool
Sayaaf, Fahim Qaseem, Kareem Khalili, Mohaqeq, Dostom and others who are
nowadays working in good positions and spent a lot of money (like a billion
dollars) to win the election process for Hamid Karzai. They have even given
bribes in the election branches in the provinces.

Actually, all these elders are working for the benefits of
different countries.

For your question regarding Karzai: We have more than 5
ethnic groups like Pashtons have 60% of the population, Tajik have 25% of the population
and living in the north who have most of key positions in government (ministries
and Parliament), Hazara have 10% and karzai pays attention to them because most
of the votes karzai got in the previous election were from Hazara, Uzbak and
others. Hamid Karzai has given government positions mostly to the Tajik and
Hazara, which is causing these bad war situations

Pashton People are 60% of the population and mostly
live in the west and most of our presidents were from that province of
Kandahar. So people think they know better about how to run the
government. And because of that they have given their vote to Karzai, as I
think Karzai is better than Abdullah but the people who are nowadays
working together with him are not good and they are the big Mafia even in
neighboring countries.

Regards,

XXXX

****************

Dear Warren, I agree with most of what you bring forward,
and who am I, sitting here safely behind my desk in The Hague…

But the one question that keeps buzzing me is what do we do
after we leave and the Taliban takes over again?

best,

René (former Economics Minister of the Royal Netherlands
Embassy in Washington DC)

*********************

Warren,

Seems persuasive to me.

This is really radical, but in the long run I think that the
borders in that area should be redrawn by secession to reflect ethnic nations.
The problem is there are too many nationalities and (thanks to the Brits) not
enough states.  The Pashtuns, Baluches and Sinds in the long run like the
Kurds should have their own countries.  Why not?  Slovenia and Serbia
and Croatia are no longer part of Yugoslavia, Azerbaijan and Kazahkstan are no
longer part of the USSR.  We Americans used to favor national
independence, but since we became the hegemon we view all natural divorces as
leading to “instability” and thus we have committed ourselves to trying to
create artificial countries in order to preserve borders drawn by long-dead
British, French and Russian imperial administrators. 

This is heresy, but I am convinced I will be vindicated in
the long run.  I don’t believe that Pakistan or Afghanistan will exist in
2100; there will be more countries where there now are two.  China is an
ethnic nation-state (minus Tibet and Xiinjiang) but I’m not sure India can
survive as an entity forever. 

Michael Lind (New America Foundation, Washington DC whose
latest book is The American Way of Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy and the
American Way of Life
)

**************************

 

About wcoats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 1975 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My most recent book is One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.
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