Let’s give Afghans more authority – Russia’s special rep in Afghanistan
For Russia it is important to explain to NATO that a stable Afghanistan is in Russia’s interests, but NATO's Cold War mentality prevents it from listening to good advice on its operations in the region.Zamir Kabulov believes Russia failed to persuade Western partners that a mere military operation in Afghanistan not supported by actions in other spheres will not bring any tangible results. It is very important for the international community, including Russia, to participate in a meaningful process of helping Afghans to build a strong and stable country, which should be based, however, on a plan drafted by the Afghans themselves. “If the international community prior to its departure doesn’t create a stable, strong army and police, if it doesn’t create a strong economy to support this army and the police in the Afghan nation, it will be beginning of new turmoil in Afghanistan.”At the moment, despite international funding, the Afghan government remains vulnerable, as it does not have much authority, and as Kabulov puts it, “lack of authority creates dependence”. “We always persuaded donors and other partners to give the Afghanistan government more of a chance to rule their country themselves, because authority bears responsibility. Let’s make them more responsible, but let’s empower them with the instruments [to do so].”Kabulov says that reconciliation should be the end goal of the Afghan turmoil, and Russia is in favor of it, as long as it stays within the following framework. “There are three certain pillars for national reconciliation, which are: first, recognition of the Afghanistan constitution by the opposition. Second, ceasing the insurgency, and, third, breaking the ties with Al-Qaeda”.Kabulov also added he does not believe NATO could withdraw in 2014, as promised, because they are acting incorrectly. Instead of risking the lives of their own soldiers, they should have created a strong Afghan army and police force and they should have consolidated the country’s economy. “If you have millions of the young generation in Afghanistan without a stable source of income, it’s hard to believe that they will not join any fighting side in order just to provide for their lives,” said Kabulov.