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23 Aug, 2009 08:51

“They are not fighting, but playing”

Differing interests from various political forces in Afghanistan could see war in the nation continuing indefinitely under current conditions, says RT former Afghan General Abdul Kadyr in an exclusive interview.

General Abdul Kadyr saw the fall of the Afghan monarchy and took part in two revolutions. Twice he was held the post of Defense Minister and later headed the Afghan Air Force.

RT: Mr. Kadyr, does the election in Afghanistan really reflect the will of Afghani people or it is just an exercise unlikely to evoke change?

Abdul Kadyr: To be frank, the vote in Afghanistan is more symbolic, because Afghani people have never voted. They do not know how and who to choose. This is a new practice for the people.

And I think that the Afghani people are being assessed from a political viewpoint. The world’s powers see that Afghanistan is a small poor socialist country. People here are not very educated in terms of politics. And somebody is using it. It is almost like a game. It seems like the people are given the opportunity to vote for someone, but in reality the President is appointed. Also there are huge divisions in political forces in Afghanistan. All the superpowers have their own interests in Afghanistan, and everyone will try to figure out now exactly how much power they have.

RT: You have mentioned several political dangers connected to the election but there are also physical threats made against the people in order to discourage them from taking part in the election. Is this a reflection of the opposition between the U.S. and coalition forces and the various political groups within Afghanistan itself?

A.K.: A very small percentage of the population actually voted. From the TV and radio reports we can see that the population is apathetic.

A town with 4,000 to 5,000 citizens has very low results with just over 1000 people voting. We think it tells us that people disagree with this vote, because there are some individuals involved who people do not want to see. That's why people do not participate in the election. If candidates were wanted by the people, then the turn out would be high. I think even 40-50% would have come to vote for the new leader.

It is only people related to these small groups who voted.

RT: You said the election does not reflect the people’s will. What about president Hamid Karzai, is he a leader that people had wanted? Does he reflect the people’s needs and will or he is simply a political puppet or can he still do something for the country?

A.K.: From the start Karzai was not the people's choice, he was appointed. With the game he is playing right now, he won't be able to do anything.

Karzai is playing a game with his opponents and enemies, as well as with his allies and friends.

There are people who would have been a better leader. But they are not among the candidates. There are people who are candidates, but they are worse than Karzai. And there are reasons for that. Karzai is the best of the candidates, because he has learned a lot, and knows how to speak to different people. But he is mostly playing games that don't benefit the people. His political games bring no benefit for the country.

RT: Do the American and coalition forces and troops in Afghanistan have a chance of achieving anything or are they tied to the cause, trapped in a never ending battle they cannot win?

A.K.: This will never end with the kind of game they are playing right now. They are not fighting, they are playing.

When our party was in power, American and Europe helped fundamentalists in their fight against us. Even China was against us. So are we to think that there was some sort of cooperation or alliance? Then we agreed to divide the power. There were those who were for it and finally they benefited from it. But those who were against, got no benefit at all. Americans were helping fundamentalists for a long time, but then fundamentalists turned against each other. The war started again! So what was it? A game? Was this the plan?

Indeed this was the plan – to turn fundamentalists against each other, continue the war, so that they are weakened and therefore obedient to America and fulfill their orders. So when the Taliban got too strong they had to start a war against the Taliban. Islam all around the world became more strong and popular. That was America’s big mistake.

So they needed a candidate from their group and put him in power. And Karzai came into the picture.

You may know that Karzai’s family is a very old one. At the very beginning of the country’s history, his family’s tribe was in power here in Afghanistan – this is one thing. And secondly, Karzai was prepared and trained for this. So when the Taliban could not fight anymore, they agreed to the Karzai proposal. It was not actually their wish; they were made to choose it. They were told that if they did not agree, then there may be a very bad option for them.

That’s how Karzai came to power. There was one period of his leadership, then another. The first vote was for Karzai, and now the vote will be in his favour too. Or maybe a person better than him will appear on the scene with a promise to do more than Karzai.

RT: In your opinion, what does Afghanistan need to become an independent, self-sufficient democratic country? What could be done to make Afghanistan prosper and develop?

A.K.: This is a very difficult question. Afghanistan has been divided into many groups according to language, religion and even geography. All these issues together have a great impact on the unity of the country. Our society is so badly-consolidated, it is so mixed! For example, there is a tribe in the North of Afghanistan. They use the language of our Southern neighbour Kyrgyzstan. They are small, but now they want to participate in the power division too. If such small groups ask for their rights, then what about those who think they are the majority? They have been in power for 280 years, and they think that they should be given the rights and power. Tadjik, Turkmen, Uzbek people who were under the rule of Pashtuns, now want democracy too. They demand equal rights. We used to fight against communism, and it’s our right to choose the authorities to be in power. This disagreement does not give allow us to make Afghanistan united right now. The situation has changed dramatically from what we had in the 20th century. Then there was only one strong power. Russia is now strong, and China has become a big economic power. India is a prominent state now too.

Remember the global shift after World War I. In 1925-1937 especially, the situation in the world looked a lot like what we see now. Different countries and forces unite. And as a military man I can say that it’s a very dangerous situation; countries may unite their forces and arrange a bloc. In my opinion, Afghanistan should be prepared for that.