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13 Nov, 2009 23:24

Shameful that troops are dying for corrupt Afghan government – former US officer

The US is shamefully supporting a “corrupt and illegitimate” government in Afghanistan, retired US Army officer Matthew Hoh told RT. He resigned in protest over the war in Afghanistan.

The new US policy on Afghanistan will be transparent and announced soon, President Barack Obama said during his visit to Japan. Americans are still waiting for him to make a decision on whether or not he will send the 40,000 or so troops that General Stanley
McChrystal has requested.

And while Washington is deliberating the future of the eight-year-long war, morale among units is declining, according to the latest survey by the US Army.

Also, the troop surge strategy is coming increasingly under fire. Earlier this week, the US Ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, warned the administration against sending more soldiers.

Earlier this autumn, the White House was shaken by the decision of Hoh, a State Department official, to quit in protest over what he sees as a failing campaign.

One of the former marine officer’s key concerns was that the US is supporting “a corrupt and illegitimate government” in Afghanistan.

“It is a kleptocracy,” he said. “The government only serves to benefit itself.”

European and NATO soldiers, he believes, should not be dying to support the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

“It’s shameful,” he said. “We will look at ourselves 5-10-15 years from now and wonder why we allowed our young men to die in support of this government.”

Also, Hoh said the reason behind his decision to resign was the understanding that “the base cause of the conflict in Afghanistan was a 35-year civil war and… American and NATO troops are fighting people who are only fighting us because we are occupying their country.”

Moreover, he went on, the US presence in Afghanistan “does nothing to do defeat or destroy Al Qaeda.”

Hoh said he could no longer participate in that mission “because American soldiers were dying for something that wasn’t making the US safer.”

What the former marine captain is advocating for is for NATO and the US “to stop combat operations in valleys and villages where people are fighting us only because we are occupying them, to understand it’s a civil war so we need to force some kind of political reconciliation to achieve peace in Afghanistan”. He said greater emphasis on Pakistan is needed in supporting that government.

“Al Qaeda is not the same organization as it was in 2001,” he said. “We need to attack them differently.”