President Karzai discusses transition with the US president, Barack Obama in New York on the sidelines of the 66th UN General Assembly Meeting. Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security advisor for strategic communications said, "This is the first meeting the president will have with Karzai since we rolled out our plan for a transition, so they'll discuss the transition to Afghan security forces and the Afghan government."
He also said that "He (Obama) will also discuss the negotiations surrounding the strategic partnership declaration between the US and Afghanistan and our alignment on the political process in Afghanistan as we head to some important conferences later this year in Istanbul and Bonn." President Karzai is addressing the UN General Assembly.
President Karzai needs international community more than any time before because he is facing huge challenges back home. But it is hoped that he will not share effective plan and thoughts with the international community on how to emerge out of the crises in the country.
Transition must not be a goal by itself. It must lead to security and stability in the country. If transition is heading towards deterioration and chaos and plunges the country into further crises, it could be suspended and it could be put off until there is a right time.
Transition will serve no purpose if it results in strengthening of Taliban and militants and other insurgent groups. Transition will be catastrophic if it culminates in Taliban's comeback and takeover. So the president must share the ground realities with the world community and decide wisely and realistically.
This is one of the areas of interests that must be focused on. The second area of concern is the strategic partnership between Afghanistan and the United States of America. It is good to come to a conclusion as quickly as possible because some of the neighboring countries try to prevent such a partnership from taking place and in the meanwhile continue to create problems in Afghanistan to show that their interests have to be met by Afghan government.
A decision based on Afghanistan's short term and long term goals and interests could to less interference. Afghan government is pursuing efforts to reintegrate Taliban militants and reconcile with insurgent groups.
It has not been able to bring about a national consensus about this process. The president has not only been able to mobilize political actors and groups but also has alienated them by acting extra-constitutionally to create crises.
The recent or ongoing parliamentary crisis is a good example of how he has alienated political actors and groups. The president attaches more importance to traditional institutions than modern and elected institutions such as parliament.
He believed that he could stand against the parliament by bringing together a traditional Loya Jirga to approve his decisions but it is clear cut that parliament represents Afghan people and will stand against the president's unilateral and arbitrary decisions.
International community has put its weight behind this plan being implemented by Afghan government but there is not any agreement on how the plan is to be enforced. The efforts by Afghan government and international community to bring the Taliban and other insurgent outfits appear not to be coherent and concerted.
Afghan government is not included in the talks that are conducted by some of the countries involved in Afghanistan. The High Peace Council is not aware of some of the talks taken place between Afghan government and representatives of Taliban.
The neighboring countries play both sides. On one hand, they back the reconciliation effort but on the other hand they attempt to use the armed opposition groups to meet their own interests. Afghan government must decide wisely and realistically when it comes about striking an agreement with the US on long-term strategic partnership and the decision must not be influenced by the threatening of the neighboring countries in this regard.
In fact, Afghan government must use its international allies to strengthen itself against intrusive neighbors that continue to pursue inhuman policies in Afghanistan. International community may again stress on the importance of addressing rampant corruption in Afghan government, which is really necessary to regain public trust and contribute to building a stable state in the country, which in turn helps get rid of ongoing violence and Taliban militants.
But president karzai may again resist the emphasis and pressure by international community. President Karzai may counter international community once again by raising the issue of civilian casualties and night raids.
Open Society has newly released a report criticizing night raids. President Karzai may refer to these types of reports to make his point against international community. The Taliban have been able to achieve dual objectives by using ordinary Afghans as a human shield: one, they have been able to incite sentiments against the international forces operating in the country to secure and stabilize Afghanistan.
Second, they have been able use it as an effective tactic to inflict huge casualties on security forces and civilians alike. But unfortunately president has not been able to and will not present any alternative on how to deal with the cruel terrorists and heartless insurgents that use civilians as shelter to do mass killing, mass disruption and mass destruction by carrying out suicide attacks and roadside bombings.
Instead of trying to find solution and use the presence of international community to stimulate economy and bring an end to the violence used by the Taliban and their foreign supporters, the president has been trying how to make his point against international community when they raise the issue of corruption in his administration.
Instead of trying to do an investigation into the Kabul Bank crisis and the fact that it has led the country into economic crisis, Afghan government has alienated the international monetary institutions to cut off their aid. Afghan government is preparing for Bonn Two conference to be held in December 2011.
There is not much information out to the public on how this could lead to a stabilized and prosperous Afghanistan. In fact, without any proper national consensus in the country and all-out agreement at the international level, holding of Bonn Two conference will be useless and will fail to serve the purpose of bringing an end to the conflict.
This could be a good opportunity to review the last ten years and reform what has gone wrong and build on what has been effective. This review must be comprehensive and include the review of political system as well.