SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 7, 2001
Serial No. 10758
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationalrelations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
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HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
NICK SMITH, Michigan
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
DARRELL E. ISSA, California
ERIC CANTOR, Virginia
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJEFF FLAKE, Arizona
BRIAN D. KERNS, Indiana
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
JIM DAVIS, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
EARL BLUMENAUER, Oregon
SHELLEY BERKLEY, Nevada
GRACE NAPOLITANO, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
KRISTEN GILLEY, Senior Professional Staff Member
LIBERTY DUNN, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Peter Tomsen, Ambassador-in-Residence, International Studies and Programs, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Stephen Philip Cohen, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Barnett R. Rubin, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, Center on International Cooperation, New York University
Elie Krakowski, Senior Fellow, Central Asia Institute, Johns Hopkins University
Hasan Nouri, Chairman, Afghanistan Project, International Orphan Care
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LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Henry J. Hyde, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations: Prepared statement
The Honorable Earl Blumenauer, a Representative in Congress From the State of Oregon: Prepared statement
The Honorable Peter Tomsen: Prepared statement
Stephen Philip Cohen: Prepared statement
Barnett R. Rubin: Prepared statement
Elie Krakowski: Prepared statement
Hasan Nouri: Prepared statement
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress From the State of New York: Prepared statement
THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2001
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House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:15 a.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman HYDE. The Committee will come to order. Let me begin by welcoming our panel of witnesses. The subject before us todaythe future of Afghanistanis of obvious immediacy, and we are eager to hear what you have to say.
The misfortunes of Afghanistan are many and arise from numerous sources, both foreign and domestic. So great has the disintegration of that country become that large numbers of terrorists drawn from many countries around the world have been able to operate there openly and freely and to use Afghanistan as a base from which to plan and launch their attacks against the United States. In this, they have been aided and abetted by a regime distinguished primarily by its medieval mindset and its harsh persecution of the unfortunate population under its control.
The events of the last 2 months have forced us to become deeply involved in the life of that far-away country. The ability of the United States to control the evolution of events in countries around the world is more limited than many would wish but, of necessity, we are now confronted with the task of helping to determine what will become of Afghanistan. Our security demands that we remove the Taliban regime from power, and I don't doubt our determination and ability to do so, but those same considerations of security also require that we do not leave a vacuum in its place.
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The problems of this task are many. The available resources are few. We lack even the ability to call upon the mass of the Afghan people to liberate themselves, so destitute and divided have they become after decades of war and deprivation. Far from uniting against their common oppressor, these organized groups which do exist seem to be unwilling or unable to put aside their differences and cooperate in the creation of a post-Taliban order in Afghanistan. I hope they can be persuaded to do so.
We must assume that the success of such efforts will rely heavily on the continuing participation of the United States, and I am hopeful that we will have allies in this effort. The United Nations has a role to play, as do the several countries in the region which have long-established ties to the many ethnic groups and local powers-that-be in Afghanistan.
But one thing is clear: We cannot impose a lasting settlement by ourselves, nor can we reinvent Afghanistan in our own image. Instead we must work with the materials at hand, even as we remain conscious of their many failings. The end result must be a government that is sustained from within, not propped up from without; one that exercises effective control over the entire country, not merely a regime whose writ runs no further than Kabul.
That can be done, but only if enough Afghans want it done. If we are to be successful, we must be prepared to provide assistance and support to all those groups and individuals who are willing to commit themselves to the creation of a post-Taliban order and who are willing to work with us and with othersincluding former rivals and opponentsto free their long-suffering country and peoples from the harshness of an unforgiving fate and give them a future once again.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Hyde follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE HENRY J. HYDE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, AND CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
Let me begin by welcoming our panel of witnesses. The subject before us todaythe future of Afghanistanis of obvious immediacy, and we are eager to hear what you have to say.
The misfortunes of Afghanistan are many and arise from numerous sources, both foreign and domestic. So great has the disintegration of that country become that large numbers of terrorists drawn from many countries around the world have been able to operate there openly and freely and to use Afghanistan as a base from which to plan and launch their attacks against the United States. In this, they have been aided and abetted by a regime distinguished primarily by its medieval mindset and its harsh persecution of the unfortunate population under its control.
The events of the last two months have forced us to become deeply involved in the life of that far-away country. The ability of the United States to control the evolution of events in countries around the world is more limited than many would wish but, of necessity, we are now confronted with the task of helping to determine what will become of Afghanistan. Our security demands that we remove the Taliban regime from power, and I do not doubt our determination and ability to do so. But those same considerations of security also require that we do not leave a vacuum in its place.
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The problems of this task are many, the available resources few. We lack even the ability to call upon the mass of the Afghan people to liberate themselves, so destitute and divided have they become after decades of war and deprivation. Far from uniting against their common oppressor, those organized groups which do exist seem to be unwilling or unable to put aside their differences and cooperate in the creation of a post-Taliban order in Afghanistan. I hope that they can be persuaded to do so.
We must assume that the success of such efforts will rely heavily on the continuing participation of the United States, and I am hopeful that we will have allies in this effort. The United Nations has a role to play, as do the several countries in the region which have long-established ties to the many ethnic groups and local powers-that-be in Afghanistan.
But one thing is clear: we cannot impose a lasting settlement by ourselves, nor can we reinvent Afghanistan in our own image. Instead, we must work with the materials at hand, even as we remain conscious of their many failings. The end-result must be a government that is sustained from within, not propped up from without; one that exercises effective control over the entire country, not merely a regime whose writ runs no further than Kabul.
That can be done, but only if enough Afghans want it done. If we are to be successful, we must be prepared to provide assistance and support to all those groups and individuals who are willing to commit themselves to the creation of a post-Taliban order and who are willing to work with us and with othersincluding former rivals and opponentsto free their long-suffering country and peoples from the harshness of an unforgiving fate and give them a future once again.
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Chairman HYDE. I am now pleased to yield to the distinguished Ranking Democrat, Congressman Tom Lantos.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you for holding this hearing, as indeed I wish to commend you for holding a series of very substantive hearings at this critical juncture in our history.
As you recall, Mr. Chairman, our Committee held a hearing on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan last week. The witnesses from the Administration and from organizations such as Save the Children testifying from Islamabad painted a grim picture of the humanitarian situation inside Afghanistan and the enormously difficult challenges facing the relief community as they race against time to save the lives of millions of innocent Afghan men, women and children. But most importantly, our witnesses provided compelling testimony on the need for a political framework for a post-Taliban government and the need for the United States and for an international commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Some time ago, as you recall, Mr. Chairman, we were down at the White House discussing the issue of post-Taliban Afghanistan, and I had the audacity to suggest that perhaps in this particular case we should not be the lead agency once the military effort is behind us, and perhaps a group of wealthy and qualified countries, led by Germany and Japan, take on the responsibility of reconstruction. I also suggested that security could well be provided under United Nations auspices by a group of Scandinavian and Baltic nations as well as Turkey, which has already indicated the willingness to do so.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think it is important, as the global struggle against international terrorism unfolds, that we recognize the capabilities and the willingness of other democratic societies to assume significant burdens in various parts of the globe, and we will not have to play the key role every single time. Our Australian friends gave an excellent example of this pattern when they took on prime responsibility in East Timor, for which they deserve a great deal of credit.
Although we have said it ad nauseam and ad infinitum, it is again important to underscore that both the people of Afghanistan and Moslem people around the globe understand that the military campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban is not a war against Moslems, nor obviously a war against the Afghan people. We have nothing against Moslems, although large segments of that community seem to have a grudge against the United States and free and open and pluralistic societies, and I don't think we should ignore this fact. Pluralism, compromise, inclusiveness, acceptance of others are unique features of free, open, democratic and Western societies, and I think we are blinding ourselves if we don't recognize that many societies are not as inclusive, accepting, compromise-prone and cherish pluralism as we do.
The United States is firm in its commitment to wipe out the terrorist network in Afghanistan, but we are equally committed, Mr. Chairman, to helping the Afghan people reclaim their country and rebuild their lives. We will help the Afghan people secure a future for their children that is free from war and built on the same hopes and aspirations held by people around the globe. We are committed to supporting the people of Afghanistan in their quest to establish a broad-based government if that is possible or regional structures if that becomes the only feasible solution, respecting human rights, specifically respecting the rights of women and children and the practice of religious tolerance.
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Mr. Chairman, I understand that our Committee will soon be considering legislation to address the current situation in Afghanistan and our fight with the Taliban regime, including the Afghanistan Freedom Act introduced by my good friend and distinguished colleague Ben Gilman. Mr. Chairman, I greatly appreciate Mr. Gilman's commitment to supporting the Afghan opposition, a commitment which is shared by all of us, and his willingness to put forward concrete proposals.
Mr. Ackerman and I also have some thoughts on this subject, and we are working on legislative proposals which will expand international broadcasting, and here I want to pay tribute to Mr. Royce, whose critical legislation we will be voting on today. All legislative proposals will aid in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Afghanistan, support an interim government, support democracy and human rights initiatives, and, of course, calls for the restoration of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that if the Committee takes up Afghanistan legislation, these types of issues will be addressed along with the initiatives in Gilman's bill in order to underscore our commitment to the people of Afghanistan.
I want to apologize at the outset for having to leave the hearing early. I am managing on the Democratic side a bill on the floor this morning. We have not yet mastered the technology allowing us to be in two places at once. With that, Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your attention.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Lantos.
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I am going to ask the indulgence of the Committee. If you have opening statements, please put them in the record. They will be printed in their entirety, without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Blumenauer follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE EARL BLUMENAUER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
I appreciate the Chairman and Ranking Member Lantos organizing this hearing on the future of Afghanistan. Before September 11, Afghanistan had suffered two decades of war. With devastated infrastructure, little government and few social services, Afghanistan has an average life expectancy of about 40 years. There is much to be done to assist this beleaguered nation to rebuild its shattered society.
There is a growing sense of urgency in Washington and other capitals about resolving the military operation in Afghanistan and finding a political solution. These imperatives are driven by the imminent arrival of the harsh Afghan winter and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan November 17, the possible collapse of the Taliban regime, and pressure on the U.S.-led coalition that will grow more intense the longer the military campaign lasts.
I concur with Secretary of State Powell who said on October 10 that ''We [the U.S.] want to see eventually arise in Afghanistan a government that represents all the people of Afghanistan, that is prepared to take care of the needs of its people, not to repress the people.''
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The process leading toward convening of a Loya Jirga, (grand assembly) is encouraging. This traditional gathering of tribal elders for the purpose of choosing a head of state and a transitional government has been widely considered as the most workable way out of the lingering Afghan impasse. The fear by some that political developments will lag the military developments in the war has intensified pressure to quickly create a political alternative to the ruling militia.
To support and foster the intra-Afghan process the State Department intends to allocate up to $400,000 in FY 2001 Economic Support Funds to support NGOs promoting the development of a broad-based, representative government in Afghanistan. This eventual federation should be balanced among the different ethnic groupsPashtun, Uzbek, Tajik, and Hazara. We should provide more assistance for this purpose.
One of our witnesses today, Ambassador Pete Tomsen, wrote in a recent article that, among other things, an effective U.S. policy on Afghanistan will need to fit into a broader regional policy framework. Those important goals include defusing Indo-Pakistani tensions; pursuing U.S. rapprochement with Iran; strengthening the democratic and economic transition process in Russian and Central Asia; and unleashing the regional economic benefits that peace in Afghanistan would bring to South Asia, Iran, Russia, China, and the new Central Asian Republics.
The U.S. and international community must not abandon Afghanistan after this war as was done following the departure of the Russians in 1992. A small, UN-backed international peacekeeping force will probably be necessary to avoid a power vacuum and to shield a future government in Kabul. We need to help support the formation of a broad-based government and assist with major reconstruction in order to eliminate Afghanistan as a base for future acts of terrorism.
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There are several important roles for the United Nations to play here. They include assistance with establishing a post-Taliban government, forming the peacekeeping force, and economic reconstruction. These are all accomplished better through the UN's multinational approach rather than the U.S. going it alone. Of course, the U.S. and other nations have a responsibility to make sure these efforts by the UN are sufficiently financed.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today.
Chairman HYDE. We have a large panel of witnesses, and I would like to get to all of them this morning.
Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Who is it?
Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Chris Smith.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Smith.
Mr. SMITH OF NEW JERSEY. Mr. Chairman, I will put my statement in the record. I would just like, very briefly, to recognize former Congressman Don Ritter, who is the former Ranking Republican on the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. He was a consistent and very aggressive voice on behalf of human rights and democracy in Afghanistan as well as the Soviet bloc. And I will never forget when I traveled with Don and the Commission to Vilnius, after the Soviets had stormed Vilnius, and President Landsbergis was literally holed up in his Parliament with sandbags. There were tanks everywhere.
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We went to a TV tower where the tanks had just recently mowed down innocent civilians, and Don Ritter crossed over into a no man's land situation. The tank turret trained its guns on him, and only the intercession ofI mean, he was so outraged at what they had done. Only the intercession of the Helsinki Commission staff and other members asking him to come backhe was like that person in China standing in front of a tank. He was so outraged. He has been a great friend of democracy, and it is great to have him here.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Lantos.
Mr. LANTOS. I will just take a moment. I wish to identify myself with the comments of my friend from New Jersey and welcome our friend Congressman Ritter.
Chairman HYDE. Well, we do welcome Congressman Ritter. He is a good friend to all of us.
I welcome today our panelists who have come from all around the country. Ambassador Peter Tomsen is now a professor of American foreign policy at the University of Nebraska, and capped a long career in the Foreign Service as the American Ambassador to Armenia. He also served from 1989 to 1992 as President Bush's special envoy on Afghanistan. He has authored numerous articles on Afghanistan, and we are pleased he could make his way here today between his teaching obligations.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Steve Cohen is a Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies program at the Brookings Institution. Mr. Cohen has a wealth of experience in South Asia.
Well, the competition is difficult to surmount. We have a series of votes, and I will finish with Mr. Cohen at least, and then we will pick up with the rest of the introductions when we come back after the votes.
Mr. Cohen has a wealth of experience in South Asia, having been a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New Delhi, and also served on the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department where he advised on matters pertaining to South Asia, security and proliferation issues.
And we will stand in recess until after the votes have been taken, and we shall then return.
Chairman HYDE. The Committee will come to order. When we last met, I was in the process of introducing the panel of witnesses, and I will resume that process.
Mr. Barnett Rubin is Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the Center for International Cooperation at New York University and previously held the directorships of the Center for Preventive Action and of the Peace and Conflict studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is the author of numerous books, including several on Afghanistan.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Elie Krakowski is President of EDK Consulting, a global political and security risk management firm. It is very important how you read that sentence. A very important risk management firm. He also is a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington and at the Central Asia/Caucus Institute of Johns Hopkins University. From 1982 to 1988, he served as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, with an emphasis on low-intensity conflict issues.
And, Mr. Hasan Nouri comes to us from California. He was educated as an engineer in Afghanistan and is the Founder and President of Rivertech, Inc. He is also the California Coordinator of the Council for Peace and National Unity of Afghanistan and is the Chairman of the International Orphan Care. Mr. Nouri has been active in Afghan humanitarian issues and we certainly welcome his thoughts on the future of Afghanistan.
I ask each of the witnesses to summarize your statements within 5 minutes, give or take a minute or 2, whatever works out. Your full statement will be placed in the record, and we want to provide an opportunity for questions, and so we will start with you, Ambassador Tomsen.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER TOMSEN, AMBASSADOR-IN-RESIDENCE, INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AND PROGRAMS, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT OMAHA
Mr. TOMSEN. Mr. Chairman, other distinguished Members of the Committee on International Relations, thank you for this opportunity to present to you my views on how the United States can assist the return of peace to Afghanistan. Please permit me, first of all, to pay tribute to the late Afghan war hero Abdul Haq and also to another Afghan war hero Ahmed Shah Masood, who Arab assassins murdered 2 days prior to the September 11 terrorist attack in America. These two Afghans, Haq and Masood, were the most prominent commanders during the 8-year Soviet-Afghan war. After the Soviets were defeated, they both died fighting for Afghanistan's freedom against the next foreign invaders, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and their radical Pakistani and Arab allies.
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The main message of the statement I have submitted, Mr. Chairman, is that we are mainly fighting a political and psychological war against terrorism in Afghanistan. We have, of course, the finest military in the world. In the end, however, warfare in this unique country of Afghanistan is of a different kind than we have heretofore fought. In my opinion, the political, psychological and humanitarian prongs of our policy would constitute 70 percent of a winning strategy, the military 30 percent. The key to victory in Afghanistan ultimately will not be how many of the enemy U.S. forces kill. Rather it will be how effectively we assist the anti-Taliban resistance in achieving victory. Victory ultimately will relate to how many Taliban defect to the resistance and how many of the very large group of fence-sitters commit themselves to the resistance.
The Taliban 1996 march north from Kandahar to Kabul involved very few battles. During 2 short months in 1992, massive defections by Communist units to the mujahedeen to the north quickly changed the balance of power in the north and brought down the Soviet-supported Communists in the Najibullah regime.
I believe our strategy should therefore focus on how best to encourage the anti-Taliban wind to blow throughout Afghanistan. American tactics must support and not undermine this strategic end. I have included in my statement, Mr. Chairman, a checklist of steps we can take to promote the anti-Taliban wind. They describe military, political psychological and humanitarian aid proposals.
During the Soviet-Afghan war, the U.S. provided the Afghans the wherewithal to defeat the Soviet invader and its Afghan Communist puppet. We should reestablish that same positive posture in this Afghan war politically, psychologically and militarily; that is, assisting the Afghans to liberate their country from the latest invader: The al-Qaeda radical Arab-Pakistani extremist terrorist network and its Taliban front. This means not permitting an escalating tragedy which turns the conflict into an American-Afghan war. This means not deploying U.S. ground forces to Afghanistan. This means careful planning to prevent a creeping U.S. military presence in Afghanistan which could portray the anti-Taliban resistance as American puppets.
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This checklist also includes suggestions on improving the vital public relations prong of our policy. In this regard, creation of Radio Free Afghanistan is an excellent first step. We should also plan and establish humanitarian aid corridors to what will be steadily growing liberated areas inside of Afghanistan. We should preposition massive amounts of food and other humanitarian aid to move into both Pashtun areas in the south and non-Pashtun areas in the north during Ramadan.
We need to decide with the Afghan resistance how American aid can immediately be provided by air and surface routes to cities which are likely to be liberated in the coming weeks: Mazar-i-Sharif, Qala Nau, Herat, Tolaqan, Konduz and perhaps Kabul. It will be also be vital to assist the Afghans in getting a headstart in economic, educational and other programs as they establish governance in liberated areas.
The U.S. should support the Afghans as they implement a Loya Jirga process to choose Afghanistan's post-Taliban government. The struggle against Osama bin Laden and his network in Afghanistan is critically dependent on Afghan success in creating a legitimate Afghan political alternative to the Taliban. The Muslim extremist network's greatest asset is the lack of an alternative countrywide, broad-based Afghan regime waiting to replace the Taliban when they are driven from Kabul. Today the international community, including the United States, is hopeful that the anti-Taliban resistance groups will reach a consensus to fill the void of legitimacy in Afghanistan.
The representatives of Zahir Shah and the Northern Alliance plan to meet in Turkey shortly in order to implement the first step in the Loya Jirga process creating a supreme council. The Supreme Council would probably then gather to choose an executive body or an interim regime to replace the Taliban government. The Loya Jirga, ceremoniously presided over by Zahir Shah, the Afghan monarch, will probably take place next summer or fall. That conclave, with the support of the international community, would select the first legitimate and credible Afghan Government in almost three decades.
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The obstacles to implementation of the Loya Jirga process, however, are formidable. The main obstacle is ongoing attempts by Afghanistan's neighbors to control who rules in Kabul. Pakistan, Iran and other nations have been competing with each other for influence within Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. Should this interference in Afghanistan continue, it will hinder Afghan efforts to reach a consensus on a legitimate regime seen by most Afghans as credible and not influenced from the outside. The United States and the broader international community should work together to insulate the Afghan Loya Jirga process from these foreign pressures.
Mr. Chairman, the seeds for the current war against the radical Muslim network now inside Afghanistan were sown during the Soviet-Afghan war. It is important that the U.S.-led coalition not proceed in a way that sows the seeds for yet another round of warfare in Afghanistan, this time Pashtun versus non-Pashtun, with each side supported and spurred on by outside powers competing for regional hegemony. Mutual restraint by Afghanistan neighboring states is the key.
The 1955 Austrian State Treaty offers a relatively recent model of mutual restraint among major powers surrounding a smaller but independent-minded, proud, strategically located nation. In the Austrian International Accord the United States, its allies and the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw their occupation forces from Austria and in effect pledged not to attempt extending their spheres of influence into the Austrian buffer zone. Austria placed the axiom of permanent neutrality in its own Constitution. For the remainder of the Cold War Austria remained an island of peace and neutrality along the main Cold War fault line running through Central Europe.
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Mr. Chairman, finally, I would like to state that there are also threats to the Loya Jirga process which are often cited that evolve from the chronic factionalism in Afghan politics. My own contacts with Afghans convince me that, despite the difficulty, there are more than enough constructive Afghans in Rome, the Northern Alliance and elsewhere in Afghanistan to successfully implement the Loya Jirga process if they are left alone to do so.
There will be more delays. Afghan time does not honor the New York minute. There will be squabbling among the Afghan groups on fair representation in the process. But there are also many, many dedicated and wise Afghans in each of the major Afghan factions determined to cooperate and replace the Taliban through successful implementation of the Loya Jirga process. They should receive our patient support and the patient support of the international community. Thank you.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much, Ambassador.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Tomsen follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER TOMSEN, AMBASSADOR-IN-RESIDENCE, INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AND PROGRAMS, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT OMAHA
Other distinguished Members of the Committee on International Relations
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you for this opportunity to present to you my views on how the United States can assist the return of peace to Afghanistan.
Please permit me first of all to pay tribute to the late Afghan war hero, Abdul Haq, and also to another Afghan war hero, Ahmed Shah Masood, who Arab assassins murdered two days prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks in America. These two Afghans, Haq and Masood, were the most prominent commanders during the eight year Soviet-Afghan war. After the Soviets were defeated, they both died fighting for Afghanistan's freedom against the next foreign invaders: Osama bin Ladin, Al Qaeda and their radical Pakistani and Arab allies.
A LOYA JIRGA PROCESS
The struggle against the Osama bin Ladin international terrorist network in Afghanistan is critically dependent on Afghan success in creating a legitimate Afghan political alternative to the Taliban. The extremist network's greatest asset is the lack of an alternative countrywide, broadbased Afghan regime waiting to replace the Taliban when they are driven from Kabul.
There has not been a legitimate Afghan regime in Kabul since the Soviet invasion over two decades ago. The Afghan people did not choose the Soviet-imposed Afghan communist regime; they did not choose the Taliban who have been imposed by radical Muslim elements from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; and they did not choose Burhanuddin Rabbani, the self-styled ''President'' of the Islamic State of Afghanistan.
Today, the international community, including the United States, is hopeful that Afghan groups opposing Al Qaeda and the Taliban will reach a consensus to fill the void of legitimacy in Afghanistan. The great majority of Afghans support the Afghan Loya Jirga process to accomplish this objective. The Loya Jirga, or Grand Assembly, is an ancient Afghan institution which has been called from time to time in Afghan history to choose a leadership in times of trouble such as the present one. Before they died, Commanders Ahmed Shah Masood and Abdul Haq agreed to support the Loya Jirga process. During their June 23, 2001 meeting in Dushanbe, Masood stated his personal view that the Islamic State of Afghanistan should step aside when the Loya Jirga process creates a broadbased interim government to replace the Taliban in Kabul.
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After the June 23, 2001 meeting, Commander Masood sent one of his senior political advisors, Yunus Qanuni, to meet former Afghan monarch Zahir Shah in Rome to decide on arrangements for the Loya Jirga process. Mr. Qanuni visited Rome twice before Masood's tragic assassination by Arab Muslim extremists. He returned to Rome following Masood's assassination to complete agreement between the Northern Alliance and Zahir Shah on formation of a Supreme Council as the first step leading to a Loya Jirga.
The representatives of Zahir Shah and the Northern Alliance plan to meet in Turkey shortly. Together, each side is to nominate fifty Afghans to sit in the Supreme Council of 120. The one hundred members chosen by these two groups would together choose twenty more representatives. I understand, however, that this number will be increased to include other Afghans, making the Supreme Council even more broadbased.
The Supreme Council would probably then gather to choose an executive body, or an interim regime, with representation from throughout Afghanistan. That interim regime, perhaps with assistance from the international community, would move into and manage Kabul during the post-Taliban period. The Loya Jirga, ceremoniously presided over by the Afghan monarch Zahir Shah, will probably take place next summer or fall. That conclave, with the support of the international community, would select the first legitimate and credible Afghan government in almost three decades. The obstacles to implementation of the Loya Jirga process, however, are formidable.
ATTEMPTS BY AFGHANISTAN'S NEIGHBORS TO CONTROL WHO RULES IN KABUL
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has been supportive of the international coalition battling the Muslim radical network in Afghanistan. In the past, however, Pakistan has attempted to use its powerful military intelligence agency, the Interservices Intelligence Directorate (ISI), to put Afghan fanatics, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Taliban, in power in Kabul. The head of the ISI has been replaced. But thousands of ISI operatives who helped create the Arab-Pakistani-Afghan Muslim extremist infrastructure along the Afghan-Pakistani border remain in place. The relatively small but vocal Pakistani ''jihadi'' parties bolster this infrastructure. Many Afghans believe, with good reason, that Abdul Haq died alone in Afghanistan, with radical Pakistani elements behind him and Al Qaeda, Taliban elements in front of him. My best guess is that Pakistan will continue to play simultaneously the role of both fireman and arsonist inside Afghanistan, albeit this time with the main accent on the former instead of the latter.
Pakistan has valid interests in Afghanistan. Those interests, however, do not extend to deciding who rules in Kabul. No country has more to gain from a stable and peaceful Afghanistan than Pakistan. The post-Taliban reconstruction program in Afghanistan should have a regional cast, which will assist Pakistan to revive its own economy and to rejoin the mainstream of the international community. Reversing Pakistan slide toward talibanization can go hand in hand with restoration of a genuine Afghan regime in Kabul.
The Iranian clerics now ruling Iran have an allergy to kings. This may be the main reason why Tehran publicly opposes the Zahir Shah-led Loya Jirga process. Fortunately, Iran has little leverage among Afghans. Non-Pashtuns as well as Pashtuns have grown suspicious of Iran's intelligence service's destructive meddling in Afghanistan. Afghan Shia leaders also harbor distrust of Iran's intentions, even while some continue to receive Iranian aid. A prominent Hazara Shia Ayatolla recently traveled to Rome to inform Zahir Shah of Hazara support for a Loya Jirga.
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Bias toward their Afghan favorites by Russia, India, and the Central Asian Republics may also continue to complicate a broadbased Afghan settlement process. Partly as a reaction to the Musharraf regime's outspoken favoritism for the Afghan Pashtuns, India, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have in recent years been backing the non-Pashtuns.
In sum, active support for their own Afghan surrogates by neighboring countries competing for influence within Afghanistan would hinder Afghans efforts to reach a consensus on a legitimate regime seen by most Afghans as credible and not imposed from the outside. The United States and the broader international community should work together to insulate the Afghan Loya Jirga process from these foreign pressures.
The seeds for the current war against the radical Muslim network inside Afghanistan were sown during the Soviet-Afghan war. It is important that the U.S.-led coalition not proceed in a way that sows the seeds for another round of warfare in Afghanistan, this time Pashtun versus non-Pashtuns, with each side spurred on by outside powers competing for regional hegemony.
Mutual restraint by Afghanistan's neighbors would therefore significantly assist the return of peace and stability to Afghanistan. Toward this end, over the middle and longer run, U.S. diplomacy could creatively press for a UN Security Council sponsored international conference to revive Afghanistan's classic buffer status between contending powers in Central Eurasia. The British and Russian empires adopted this solution of mutual restraint to avoid a potentially wasteful confrontation over Afghanistan during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
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The 1955 Austrian State Treaty offers a more recent model of mutual restraint among major powers surrounding a smaller but independent minded, proud, strategically located nation. In the Austrian international accord, the United States, its allies, and the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw their occupation forces from Austria and, in effect, pledged not to attempt extending their spheres of influence into the Austrian buffer zone. Austria placed the axiom of permanent neutrality in its own constitution. For the remainder of the Cold War, Austria remained an island of peace and neutrality along the main Cold War fault line running through Central Europe.
THREATS POSED BY INTERNAL AFGHAN FACTIONALISM TO A SUCCESSFUL LOYA JIRGA PROCESS
Not surprisingly, different Afghan individuals and groups are already jockeying for positions on the Supreme Council and the future interim government. Others are attempting to stymie the Loya Jirga process. For eleven years, Islamic State of Afghanistan ''President'' Burhanuddin Rabbani has rejected the Zahir Shah-led Loya Jirga process as un-Islamic. Unfortunately, there are recent indications that Rabbani has not changed his opposition to the inclusive Loya Jirga approach.
In Rome, a number of key advisors to Zahir Shah are trying to use his coattails to corner in advance cabinet positions in the post-Taliban Afghan regime. Others around Zahir Shah are resisting, causing argumentation and friction. Some Afghans charge that the goal of a recently convened Afghan conference in Peshawar was to insert Pakistani favored Afghans into the Supreme Council and the post-Taliban Afghan interim government.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, my own contacts with Afghans convince me that, despite the difficulties, there are more than enough constructive Afghans in Rome, the Northern Alliance, and elsewhere in Afghanistan to successfully implement the Loya Jirga process. There will be more delays. ''Afghan time'' does not honor the New York minute. There will be setbacks. There will be squabbling among the Afghan groups on fair representation in the process. But, there are also many, many dedicated and wise Afghans in each of the major Afghan factions determined to cooperate and replace the Taliban through successful implementation of the Loya Jirga process. They should receive our patient support and the patient support of the international community.
As the Loya Jirga process advances outside Afghanistan, we and other nations should encourage the growing centers of opposition to the Taliban inside Afghanistan to cooperate with each other. Our encouragement could include provision of sophisticated communication facilities to each resistance center to enable them to coordinate politically as well as militarily. In the end, those with the guns inside Afghanistan will play a major role in deciding whether the Loya Jirga process succeeds or fails. Memories of the disastrous results of the 19921996 period of Mujahidin factional infighting will be an incentive to cooperate this time. Rapid and large scale reconstruction assistance from the international community would be another important incentive for intra-Afghan cooperation.
Through both Clinton Administrations and up to September 11 during the Bush Administration, there was no comprehensive U.S. policy for Afghanistan and the region. Since September 11, we have, of course, seen authoritative U.S. statements on goals, such as eliminating Osama bin Ladin and Al Qaeda. We have yet to see a clearly stated, comprehensive, integrated policy umbrella geared to achieve our geo-strategic political, military, and economic interests in Afghanistan and the region.
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In formulating U.S. tactics for the war against Osama bin Ladin and the Taliban, we must remember that the challenge before us in Afghanistan is not strictly military. As Clauzewitz wrote 200 years ago, military instruments utilized during war must serve strategic political goals. Indeed, the political, psychological and humanitarian aid prongs of our policy would constitute 70% of a winning strategy, the military 30%. A winning strategy should parallel our successful strategy during the Afghan-Soviet war: giving the Afghans the wherewithal to defeat the latest invader. This time the invader is the international Muslim extremist monster now rooted in Afghanistan. Our tactics should focus on helping the Afghans to once again liberate their country.
It is critical that the United States avoid the appearance of being the latest invader of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda's propaganda is very sophisticated and reinforced by its extremist allies in Pakistan and the Arab world. The main message of that propaganda machine is that the United States is attacking Afghanistan and Islam. If Al Qaeda and extremist Muslims in Pakistan and the Arab world succeed in their frantic effort to establish this image, we will be in for a much longer war.
We must resist the temptationand pressures within our governmentto do the job on the ground ourselves. A greatly expending U.S. military presence inside Afghanistan would make the anti-Taliban resistance increasingly vulnerable to charges that it is an American puppet. Moreover, Afghan resistance commanders and fighters may be inclined to stand aside if the American military presence on the ground grows substantially.
Our psychological warfare strategy can be coordinated closely with U.S. allies who are also beaming short wave radio broadcasts into Afghanistan. The VOA Pashtu Service, in my opinion, should be improved to make it more objective, per the VOA Charter. Launching Radio Free Afghanistan is an excellent proposal. A vibrant broadcast facility from Zahir Shah in Rome would also provide significant political lift to the anti-Taliban cause. Likewise, U.S.-supported radio broadcasts from the expanding anti-Taliban resistance centers inside Afghanistan would help fuel the anti-Taliban uprising.
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Drawing on the above, the following checklist of U.S. tactics in Afghanistan may be useful:
The U.S. should be strictly neutral among the different anti-Taliban resistance groups. Our information effort should emphasize this neutrality.
Our military working on the ground with the different Afghan resistance groups, and U.S. intelligence officials, must also make a point of being see as even-handed and not favoring one Afghan group over another.
Accordingly, we must not once more become dependent on the Pakistan military intelligence in determining which Afghan factions receive what U.S. assistance.
We should immediately cease bombing targets in Afghanistan's cities and towns. I assume we have now hit all the major targets in the towns. The marginal military benefit accrued from further attacks in the urban areas will be far outweighed by the political damage to our primary political goal of encouraging Afghan opposition to the Taliban, especially in Pashtun areas.
We should not deploy regular U.S. ground forces into Afghanistan. The only way to avoid getting bogged down in a Vietnam-type quagmire is not to place conventional U.S. troops in Afghanistan in the first place. We need not publicly announce this decision, as we mistakenly did in Kosovo.
We must also resist a creeping escalation of other forms of U.S. military presence inside Afghanistan. We need to minimize publicity about American military operations on the ground.
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We should use Western and Afghan Private Volunteer Organizations (PVOs) to distribute U.S. humanitarian assistance.
Aside from attacking Taliban front line positions, our military focus should be on assisting the anti-Taliban resistance through coordination of air strikes, delivery of military and humanitarian assistance, evacuation of the wounded, and training on new equipment. Secretary Rumsfeld recently pointed out that this adjustment is already underway. We should keep in mind that the resistance does not need extensive training on how to fight a war in Afghanistan.
We should plan and establish humanitarian aid corridors to the steadily growing liberated areas inside Afghanistan.
We should preposition massive amounts of food and other humanitarian aid to move into both Pashtun areas in the south and non-Pashtun areas in the north during Ramadan.
We need to discuss with the Afghan resistance how American aid can immediately be provided, by air and surface routes, to cities which are likely to be liberated in the upcoming weeks: Mazar-i-Sharif, Qala Nau, Herat, Tolaqan, Konduz and perhaps Kabul. In 1991, the seizure of Khost in Pakistan by the Mujahidin resulted in a spasm of looting and destruction by the anticommunist ''liberators.'' Western and Afghan PVOs experienced in Afghanistan relief programs and local Afghan jirgas can distribute the flow of assistance. In the liberated and non-liberated areas, the Afghan population would witness the benefits that will come to cities and regions which pass from Taliban control. The local governments in the liberated areas can be connected to the Loya Jirga process and project the same broadbased character. U.S.A.I.D. should tool up to expeditiously transfer humanitarian assistance and community development aid to newly liberated rural areas.
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Famine conditions in Afghanistan threaten some two million Afghans this winter. Western aid quickly mobilized and distributed can avert a humanitarian catastrophe, while showing to the Afghan people that the U.S.-led coalition is a friend, not an enemy.
For over two decades, foreign interference has fed warfare and destruction in Afghanistan. Today, there are a plethora of diplomats from foreign countries assigned to deal with the Afghansthe United States, Turkey, India, and Iran, to name a few. The Afghan groups will be confused and disillusioned by so many senior diplomats coming to call. Somehow, there needs to be better coordination within the international community to streamline and control advice going to the Afghan resistance.
In this regard, it would be advisable for all outside powers to defer to the UN Special Representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, as he pursues the sensitive task of helping the Afghan groups to reach consensus on the composition of the post-Taliban Afghan interim regime in Kabul. It will, however, also be incumbent on Brahimi and his team to resist the inevitable attempts by outside governments to steer him towards one favored group over another.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to end by again emphasizing that victory in Afghanistan for the Afghan people and the international coalition will depend mainly on political-psychological factors. Our splendid military forces should assist our political-psychological strategy. We can kill thousands of the enemy. If we do it wrong, they will merely be replaced by many more thousands in this country of nineteen million. We should instead proceed in a way that accelerates the anti-Taliban wind.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The wind will be driven by defections from Taliban ranks and movement by the numerous Afghan fence sitters to opposition forces. That is the way the Taliban marched north in 1996. Hardly a battle was fought. That is the way their oppressive rule will end, if we do it right. Success requires that the struggle on the ground against the Taliban be and be seen to be an Afghan operation.
The anti-Taliban wind is blowing in the north. We must help it blow in the south, and in a way which assists the Afghan resistance to unite countrywide, politically as well as militarily. We should once again assist the liberators who wish to eliminate the foreign imposed Muslim extremist network in Afghanistan as much as we do.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Cohen.
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN PHILIP COHEN, SENIOR FELLOW, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
Mr. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members, Chairman Hyde, the last time we met, we were sharing a platform in Chicago last summer. We both spoke before a group of Pakistani American doctors, and I think we both discussed the importance of Pakistan in a larger regional issue, and I think we both raised our concern about Afghanistan and the developments there.
The government that would work in AfghanistanI will speak mostly to the Pakistan issue as I was asked by staff and defer to my colleagues about the internal dynamic of Afghanistan, but I have one thing to say about a future Afghanistan. The government that would work in Afghanistan would have to have the right balance between Kabul and the provinces, not unlike Chicago. City Hall has to be strong enough to deliver the goods, but not so strong that it threatens the ward committeemen.
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I think that metaphor, that model, is appropriate for Afghanistan even though Chicago is run by Democrats these days. I think you understand the general balance of power between the center and the provinces. Afghanistan has failed when it has had a government in Kabul that has tried to impose its writ deep into the countryside. Both the Communists and the Taliban have tried to impose a centralized ideology over the rest of Afghanistan. A government that would work in Afghanistan would resemble a well-run big city where the center had the patronage and the influence for leverage over the provinces.
Let me address the Pakistan question because Pakistan is an essential component of any Afghan solution. The British drew the boundary between Afghanistan and British India in such a way that Pakistani society overlaps with much of Afghanistan, and Pakistan also has a strategic interest in Afghanistan and sees Afghanistan as part of its sphere of influence. This has been the record for more than the past 30 years, and particularly true over the past 10 years when the Pakistanis saw Afghanistan as a stepping stone to larger strategic objectives. I think it was a misguided goal, in fact, which landed us in some of these problems.
Pakistan intelligence will be useful in the war we are now fighting in Afghanistan, but the Interservices Directorate (ISI) is not entirely on board. Even though the senior leadership may have been changed, you can not change the orientation in the context of an entire bureaucracy overnight. So there are many in the ISI who have had extensive contact with the Afghans who may have other views about cooperating with the United States.
Secondly, there is a possibility that Pakistan may change its minds about cooperating with the United States. It may depart from this coalition if it sees the war going badly or if it sees its own interests being damaged by too close an association with the United States. I don't predict that soon, but clearly the Pakistani leadership is concerned about internal response to the war, and maybe in 6 months we might see some more serious protests than we have so far.
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Mr. Chairman, the consequences of Pakistani military support are also unpredictable. In 1998, we flew over Afghanistan with missile attacks, flew over Pakistan with missile attacks on Afghanistan, and that had a significant impact on Pakistani domestic politics. Also having some role in the events that led to an attempted removal of President Musharraf, and in turn the coup by Musharraf against then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. So the political consequences of military coups with the United States could be very serious for Pakistan.
I think President Musharraf is in a stronger position now than he was before this started, and I think his position is comparable to that of President Zia in 1981, 1982. But clearly this is an area of vulnerability, especially should the war go badly.
It is not clear now what assistance the Pakistanis are providing us, whether they have gone as far as the Iranians have gone in terms of offering to rescue American pilots and so forth, whether they will in the future offer their territory for use by American forces or for American fighter planes or American bombers carrying out missions in Afghanistan. I think we can expect some of this support from them, but clearly this is something that has not been publicly discussed and may not be publicly known for some time.
In the long run, Mr. Chairman, the stability of Pakistan itself is as critical as finding a proper solution for Afghanistan. Pakistan is a nuclear arms state and has a large and powerful military. It has cultural and economic ties with many of its neighbors and even into the Persian Gulf. It would be a tragedy if we saved Afghanistan but lost Pakistan. And I think in many ways, Pakistan is more dangerous, but also the more promising country than Afghanistan.
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Let me conclude by just a few comments. The war in Afghanistan must be fought and is winnable. We must define victory as more than simply the defeat of the Taliban. We must ensure that Afghanistan is no longer used as a haven for international terrorists who attack us or attack our country. Secondly, a rescue operation for Pakistan is as important as a rescue operation for Afghanistan. Pakistan is a major power. We cannot afford to see Pakistan go down the road of extremism or fragment into its own constituent parts.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cohen follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF STEPHEN PHILIP COHEN, SENIOR FELLOW, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN
The shooting has started in Afghanistan, but what will follow it? The administration may not have decided on a course vis a vis other terrorist-harboring states, notably Syria, Iraq, and Iran, but it has calculated that the September 11 tragedy compels a new approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is not merely a question of humanitarian relief, but will be necessary to prevent the re-emergence of radical Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan, and to prevent Pakistan from going down that same road.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCReconstructing Afghanistan
Several key members of the Bush administration were ''present at the destruction'' of Afghanistan. They helped manage the assault on Soviet-controlled Afghanistan in the 1980s, and then saw the country fall into calamitous disarray in the 1990s. By then Afghanistan had become a Pakistani project as Islamabad sought to exclude Iranian and Indian influence and to extend its writ over the country. Its strategists fantasized that having ''won'' the war against the Soviets that Pakistan could become a Central Asian power in its own right. This led to Pakistan's support for the Taliban in partnership with the Saudis, and later with Osama's Al Qaeda. We now know the consequences.
The administration's military strategy is to deconstruct the Taliban-Al Qaeda forces into its components (the Arab brigade, the radical Taliban core, and quite a few opportunistic tribal chieftains), and then defeat or co-opt each of them. The process will be accelerated if the senior leadership of Al Qaeda and the Taliban can be located and destroyed, but Washington is digging in for a war that could last at least through next spring. While the Al Qaeda and hard-core Taliban units are expected to fight to the end, the assumption is that the many Pushtun groups that signed up with the Taliban can be separated out, and that they will defect once it is evident that the Al Qaeda-Taliban are going to lose.
Running parallel to this military operation is a political strategy and humanitarian assistance program designed to offer the Afghans a meaningful alternative while holding mass starvation at bay.
The political strategy has not shown quick results, but these are still early days. The original expectation was that some kind of coalition could be put together, drawing from elements of the Northern Alliance, Pushtun tribes, and even the exiled king, Zahir Shah. The king turned out to be unimpressive, Pakistan wanted to exclude any elements from the Northern Alliance, members of the Northern Alliance were dead set against the inclusion of ''moderate'' Taliban forcesif any could be produced, and Iran seeks a role for the Hazara (largely Shi'a) minority.
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After two months of political jockeying, it is clear that the Afghans cannot be united easily, nor will they willingly come together on their own. Past Afghan regimes have been designed and imposed from the outside. That is likely to be the case in the next Afghan government.
However, there is a consensus that that the new Afghanistan government will have to include all major linguistic and tribal groups in Afghanistan. If the key regional countries surrounding Afghanistan stick to this commitment, then it is possible that a weak, but more or less representative government can be established in Kabul.
This government could serve as the channel for massive assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan's shattered highway system, its ruined canals (vital in this arid land), and basic health and educational services. This operation will require American support, and will have to be coordinated with the termination of the war and the emergence of a new Afghan political order. Ironically, an American administration that once cautioned against ''nation building'' finds itself planning a massive state-building project in Afghanistan, possibly in collaboration with the United Nations.
No less important than clearing Afghanistan of its terrorist parasites is a preventive operation that will help ensure that Pakistan, a nuclear weapons power with a significant military capability, neither ''fails'' nor falls under the control of Islamic zealots.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Pakistan is regularly described as a ''failed'' state, and it is the site of a raging civilizational war between moderate and radical Islam. There are also sectarian clashes, and radical Sunni gangs have recently engaged in the systematic assassination of Shi'a doctors in Karachi and the murder of Christians elsewhere in the country. Politically, Pakistan is stranded midway between military autocracy and incompetent civilian democracy. The only coherent political organization in the state is the army, and, reversing the usual civil-military question, the army sees the problem as one of establishing effective, if subtle, military control over the civilians, viewed by the ''khakis'' as unruly and incompetent.
Washington lost much of its influence on Islamabad, after it terminated military training, sales, and economic assistance in 1991. Another set of sanctions was applied in 1998, to punish Islamabad for its nuclear tests. In the political equivalent of ''bouncing the rubble,'' still further sanctions were imposed in 1999 after Pakistan reverted to military rule.
Recognizing that Islamabad's cooperation would be vital to any operation in Afghanistan, the Bush administration quickly lifted nuclear sanctions against Islamabad, and suspended the ''democracy'' sanctions. In response, Pakistan has provided significant assistance to the war effort, and no less important, President/General Musharraf removed from positions of influence many of the hard-line officers who were at the forefront in the effort to maintain the Taliban.
This is not a minor reshuffling of officers: it has put Musharraf in the same, pre-eminent position that Zia ul-Haq attained in 1980 (ironically, also due to a war in Afghanistan), only in this case it could mean that Pakistan is pointed in a more liberal direction, both in its dealings with the Afghans and at homeand conceivably, with New Delhi. Zia's personal inclinations were to support and develop the ''Islamic'' side of Pakistan, Musharraf is quite a different personhis background and his personal inclinations are towards a more liberal interpretation of Islam, and a more gentle application of Islamic principles to Pakistan. Parenthetically, it should be noted that It was not Zia, but the ''secular'' Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, that took Pakistan in an ''Islamic'' direction, Zia merely built upon what Bhutto had started.
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If Musharraf sticks to this path, then we have witnessed a fateful turning point for Pakistan. There were signs that he was headed in this direction a month before September 11, when the government ordered the collection of guns from extremist elements and the banning of several radical groups in Pakistan itself. These had directly challenged the authority of the army. Many of these groups were subsequently swept away by Pakistan's security forceswith the widespread support of the mainstream political parties.
Adding to America's leverage vis a vis Pakistan was the realization that the United States had developed a credible regional alternative in the form of a new U.S.-India relationship. As much as the fear of economic disaster, this led Musharraf to give in to the inevitable. Having done this, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is now reset to ''normal.''
The new relationship is notable by the absence of grandiose rhetoric. Both sides realize that they have concocted a limited strategic partnership. This partnership is important for the United States, but vital for Pakistan, since Islamabad remains a vulnerable state. The new relationship salvages Pakistan's self-respect and has turned President Musharraf into a surprisingly statesmanlike figure.
The US time also clears the way for American influence in Pakistan on other decisions. These include the holding of democratic elections (scheduled for October 2002), further restraints on Pakistan's small nuclear arsenal, the maintenance of a free press in Pakistan (one of the best in Asia, and certainly in the Muslim world), a new emphasis on reviving Pakistan's educational and administrative institutions, and a fresh attempt to begin a dialogue with India over Kashmir and other issues. As he was firing or sidetracking the hardline generals, Musharraf contacted Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, requesting that the India-Pakistan summit process be restarted. These are all developments that Washington has been urging on Pakistan, it may be that September 11 indirectly made them possible.
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Towards a Regional Peace Process
With near-normal relations with both India and Pakistan, Washington is no longer seen as a sanctions-obsessed superpower. Musharraf has thrown in his lot with the United States and India still hopes for a larger strategic relationship with Washington. New Delhi is also urging the United States to use its influence in Pakistan to persuade the latter to moderate or end its support for terrorist groups operating in Kashmir.
If the Bush administration can overcome its aversion to ''peace processes,'' it has an opportunity to facilitate one between India and Pakistan. This process will consist of small, baby steps at first, but this could lead to more substantive discussions in the near future. If it does not bring peace to Kashmir, it might bring a more normal relationship between India and Pakistan, and reduce the risk of a larger, catastrophic war between the two new nuclear states.
Can the Bush Administration go three for three in South Asia-reconstructing Afghanistan, stabilizing a more moderate, even democratic Pakistan, and facilitating a regional peace process? The state-building process in Afghanistan requires the active cooperation of the region's middle powers, and their willingness to moderate their influence in a post-war Afghanistan. A UN framework, backed by China, Russia and the United States, with funding from interested European powers and Japan, might be the best hope for salvaging Afghanistana country that has a finely developed sense of nation-hood, but lacks the rudimentary institutions of a state.
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The resurrection of Pakistan as a truly moderate and progressive Islamic state will require a long-term commitment by some of the advanced industrial powers. They will have to cooperate in again educating a generation of Pakistani scholars, professionals, and administrators, repairing the damage done by twenty years of military dictatorship and ten years of corrupt democracy. Any assistance program for Pakistan must emphasize the rehabilitation of civilian institutions. The dominant role of the Pakistan army will not disappear overnight, but Pakistan will never be a normal state until its civilian political, educational, and cultural institutions are resuscitated. This is not impossible, given the essentially moderate quality of Pakistani society, the eagerness of Pakistanis to join the world economy, a strong commitment of many overseas Pakistanis to their homeland, and the rich reservoir of talent that exists in these communities in Great Britain, the United States, and other countries. The need is there, the desire is there, but recent Pakistani governments have been unable to repair the country's educational and political infrastructure, partly because of the budget crisis, but also because they did not think it to be important compared with their obsession with India and other security issues.
None of these tasks will be easy, but there will never be a better opportunity to tackle them. The Bush administration should plan for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, take steps to stabilize Pakistan, and be more proactive when it comes to India-Pakistan relations, while the momentum for change is in the right direction. While the war on international terrorism will inevitably shift to another theater, it would be foolhardy to ''win'' it in Afghanistan militarily, without creating the conditions that would prevent a revival of totalitarian extremism in its Islamic guise in that country, or to take steps to prevent such extremism from overcoming the even larger and more important Pakistan.
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Chairman HYDE. Mr. Barnett Rubin, please.
STATEMENT OF BARNETT R. RUBIN, DIRECTOR OF STUDIES AND SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Mr. RUBIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members.
First Mr. Chairman, I would like to associate myself with the wise words with which you opened the hearing about what our goals should be in Afghanistan, and particularly the need for a political settlement and reconstruction, not only because of the debt we owe to the Afghans and the implications for the region, but because the only way that we can be sure that Afghanistan will be kept terrorist-free is if we give the Afghans a stake in doing it. They are the only ones who will be able to do it. And as you rightly noted, it is the devastation of that country over the last 20 years that provided an opportunity for foreigners to use it as a base for exporting terror, or reexporting terror, I should say, since they first imported it to Afghanistan and then reexported it.
But I also want to associate myself with some of the disquiet expressed by my colleague Peter Tomsen. I recall the last time Peter and I were in this room in March 1990. We were testifying at a hearing when he was in the Government and I was outside the Government, and I testified to something that he couldn't talk about at the time, that the CIA did not even inform the State Department about what groups the U.S. was supplying weapons to, because that was considered a military operational question and not a political question.
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That kind of approach to policy in Afghanistan is one of the origins of the problems that we are facing today, and I think that a number of us who are familiar with that history are concerned that we might again be putting military objectives above the political strategy that we need to pursue in order to be successful, and that if we do that, we could, again, be in a situation that would be very unfortunate for the United States and for the people of Afghanistan. I have more about that in my printed remarks.
Specifically, I think there are some concrete things that we could do, even at the local level, with regard to the current campaign to assist the so-called Northern Alliance, the United Front, in capturing Mazar-i-Sharif. We have people on the ground, Turkey has people on the ground, the United Nations still has personnel there, its national staff, and it will be sending its international staff back if security is there. One, we need to do what we can to prevent reprisals. You rightly said, Mr. Chairman, or one of the Members said, we can't control what happens there, but we must do what we can to assure that if the United Front forces reenter Mazar-i-Sharif, they do not take mass revenge on Taliban and ethnic Pashtuns, because the two times before that power changed in that city since 1997, thousands of people were massacred.
Second, when and if the UF does take control of the city, we should do what we can to assure that the factions establish a unified administration there, rather than divide the city into zones under three competing warlords, since there are three different military forces belonging to three different components of the United Front without a common command structure that are seeking to take control of the city now. They should do so not in the name of reestablishing themselves as local warlords, but in the name of a national project for Afghanistan.
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And, third, that once the city is relatively secure, we should work with the Afghans there to make it into a center for the delivery of humanitarian assistance and recover from conflict. Mazar-i-Sharif is the place through which we can get that assistance to the most needy people in Afghanistan, who are now already starting to starve to death in certain regions. If we succeed in doing that, it will show many people in Afghanistan that the United States is not just in Afghanistan to do what many Afghans believe we did beforethat is, use them in a proxy war against our enemies and then walk away and leave them in a worse situation than they started in. If we can show that by example, it will be a powerful force and inducement for Afghans who are not sure now what to do, to join the Afghans who are trying to replace the Taliban.
A transition has a number of elements. I go into some detail in my statement. I will just list them here. There is perhaps a disproportionate amount of attention in the discussion of transition on the constitution of a national political authority in Afghanistan. A national political authority in Afghanistan is likely to be primarily a symbolic legitimating device. What will really count will be the way power is organized in various regions and how it is articulated with that center. So it will require the formation of that national transitional authority, but also agreements with regional authorities, and those regional authorities in turn will require some kind of protocols with either local U.N. offices or with that national authority.
A transition will require security arrangements in particular for Kabul City, because as the United Front leadership itself has said, the capture of that city by any one group, including themselves, would create obstacles to the formation of a truly national government, and therefore, we need some kind of neutral security force.
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I would emphasize that there are Afghan initiatives under way for such a security force, not just international ones, and probably we should be looking at some combination of a multinational force and an Afghan force including a police academy that has been founded by some elements of the United Front in the Panjsher Valley and is working on professional lines.
We will need a transitional administration. We don't usually think of that because we assume that there is an administration, and you just change the government. But there is no administration. For the government to be able to do anything, the United Nations and others will have to work with Afghans to set up some structure through which it can actually deliver the goods, and that will mean linking that to the regions as well. And then finally, to give it something to do, as you rightly said, we will need to provide assistance. When I say ''we,'' I don't mean just the United States, but an international coalition for conflict recovery and reconstruction.
Finally, the role of the U.S. Congress: The one thing the U.S. Congress might be able to do that would be most relevant right now would be to put the money on the table, that is allocate the funds. I believe the Administration and the public here are committed to this, but I think that Afghans are still quite skeptical as to whether that commitment is really there. If the money is allocated and even put into a fund for reconstruction, that in turn will be a kind of commitment that will be more believable and will act as an incentive for them. Thank you.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you.
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PREPARED STATEMENT OF BARNETT R. RUBIN, DIRECTOR OF STUDIES AND SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to address this important issue.
In the aftermath of the crimes of September 11, the US could have chosen a narrow military approach of attacking our enemies and disregarding the broader consequences. Instead, after several weeks of debate inside the administration and in public forums, the administration chose a wiser course. While we maintain our focus on the goal of uprooting and destroying al-Qa'ida and defeating the Taliban, as long as the latter harbor al-Qa'ida, the President in his press conference of October 11 also stated several other important goals and principles that must guide our policy:
1. The goal of the US in Afghanistan is ''a stable Afghanistan,'' not simply dismantling the Taliban and al-Qa'ida and moving on.
2. The US will remain committed to work with Afghans on a transition and reconstruction of their shattered country.
3. The United Nations, supported by the US, should provide the framework for the transition and reconstruction efforts.
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In this testimony, I will outline the elements necessary for such a transition, the inter-relationships among them, and the role that the UN should play.
Before discussing the elements of the transition, however, I must make a few observations about the US's current strategy in Afghanistan. That strategy will largely determine whether a transition takes place, under what conditions, and who, if anyone, will be able to take power. We must bear in mind that we are not facing a conventional enemy. Neither al-Qa'ida nor the Taliban constitute the type of organized force that the US military is designed to take on and defeat. Afghanistan does not possess a functioning state structure or administration that can continue to operate and provide even minimal services or security to the population during a transition or a military campaign. The UN estimated that 5.9 million people were extremely vulnerable to starvation before September 11, and that the displacement and additional insecurity since that time has placed an additional 1.9 million people at risk.
At this point, it appears to me that at least some elements of the military strategy in Afghanistan are not serving our goals there well. I have included as an appendix an Op-Ed piece by Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, who similarly argues that our military strategy will not achieve our objectives.
I am concerned that we are falling into a trap set for us by Usama Bin Ladin. Bombing targets that inflict civilian casualties is turning some Afghans against us, making it more difficult for our Afghan allies to work on assembling a post-Taliban regime, and souring public opinion in the Muslim world and parts of Europe on the campaign. If this trend continues, it could make the kind of thoroughgoing police and intelligence cooperation we will need for years to come more difficult to obtain. Furthermore, while attacking specific leadership and other al-Qaida targets may continue to be necessary, neither bombing nor a massive campaign by US ground troops is likely to defeat the Taliban and lead to a stable outcome in Afghanistan, or achieve other goals that the President has set.
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It is not possible to defeat the Taliban through a US military offensive, for two main reasons:
1. No matter how hard we hit them, we do not intend to go in and occupy the terrain. Hence we cannot secure victory, as, for instance, NATO did in Kosovo. No foreign ground force can secure and occupy Afghanistan. Trying to do so, despite the obstacles outlined by Prof. Mearsheimer, will lead the US into a situation similar to that of the USSR in Afghanistan. Of course, our reasons for fighting in Afghanistan cannot be compared with the USSR's, but our logistic conditions are much less favorable, since the USSR was contiguous to Afghanistan. The terrain of Afghanistan can only be occupied by an Afghan successor government and a security force, whether international, Afghan, or some combination.
2. The bombing has predictably sparked a patriotic defensive reaction among Afghans. Even Dr. Abdullah, spokesman of the United Front/Northern Alliance, has asked the US to be more careful about civilian casualties. Every Afghan I know who is working to build support for a post-Taliban regime initiative among Pashtuns says that the bombing has made the task much harder. They are unanimous in asking that it at least be reduced and targeted away from populated areas.
Continuing a military offensive in the absence of a political and security alternative can lead to one of two outcomes:
1. The Taliban will hold on, making us look like an impotent bully; or
2. The Taliban will collapse, leading to chaos, anarchy, more civil war, and an even vaster humanitarian crisis, for which we will be blamed. Note that the number of Afghans said to be ''extremely vulnerable'' to starvation and exposure now totals in the millions. Food deliveries continue, but many areas can no longer be reached by humanitarian organizations.
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The second outcome will make it more difficult to wage the war against al-Qaida and make the US look like it is repeating the error of using Afghanistan as a territory for a proxy war without a strategy for stabilization or for the welfare of the Afghan people. Such a situation would create pressures for the insertion of US ground forces to maintain order and protect humanitarian assistance, as in Somalia. We must avoid such a trap.
The US is now bombing front lines to help the United Front/Northern Alliance to advance on certain fronts, notably Mazar-i Sharif and Kabul. These fronts present certain opportunities and also certain risks. The UF/NA is not a candidate as successor to the Taliban as government of most of Afghanistan. It needs to be part of a successor regime, but it cannot constitute or dominate it. Even if one disregards their past abuses, they simply do not have the capacity to govern the country or even secure Kabul city. Pakistan also objects to them, as discussed below, but this should not be a central consideration.
Mazar-i Sharif is an important objective because of its logistical and symbolic impact. Access to that city will make supply of humanitarian assistance to civilians and multi-faceted assistance to military forces in the north much easier. It will particularly ease the task of reducing the danger of mass starvation in the Central Highlands and will facilitate assistance to Ismail Khan in his campaign to return to Herat. Ismail Khan is a more respected and unifying figure than any other current leader of the UF/NA.
The UF forces now investing Mazar consist of three mutually competing forces: the ex-communist Uzbek militia led by Abdul Rashid Dostum, the Tajik Sunni mujahidin led by Ustad Atta, and the Shi'a Hazara mujahidin led by Ayatullah Haji Muhammad Muhaqqiq. They have already planned to divide the city into three zones, and, if they fail to establish a common administration or resume fighting each other (as they were doing even while retreating from the Taliban in August 1998), that negative example could deter others from joining the effort. Furthermore, there is a history of massacre and revenge associated with changes of power in the city. If the UF captures Mazar-i Sharif without security arrangements, elements of their forces could inflict vengeance on Pashtuns or Taliban prisoners, as they did in 1997, especially given the reprisal massacres of thousands by the Taliban in 1998. This would further convince Pashtuns that they need to stick with the Taliban out of self-defense.
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It is vital therefore, that, as we support the UF advance on Mazar, we also:
1. Work through our personnel on the ground and our Turkish allies to assure that the forces we are supporting do not take revenge or engage in massive violations of human rights;
2. Similarly work to assure that the city and province come under a unified administration that can supply security in the name of a national project, most likely under the titular authority of a transitional council chaired by the former King, rather than just being a new site for warlordism; and
3. Make this important commercial center immediately into a regional focal point for massive humanitarian assistance, recovery from conflict, and the start of reconstruction, under the aegis of the UN, which should then be able to return its expatriate personnel to the UN regional coordinator's office there.
Kabul presents specific and extremely important problems. Control of Kabul symbolizes the claim to rule Afghanistan, but control of the city does not in fact enable any force to rule Afghanistan; it is a seat more of legitimacy than of power. US support for the UF to take Kabul would be seen as US support for the UF as a successor regime. If the US is seen as supporting the UF as a successor regime, it will further strengthen the Taliban in southern Afghanistan and also among the urban population that fears a repeat of 199296. During that time many elements of the UF engaged in abuses of the population, fought with each other (as well as with Pakistan-supported militia outside the city, which included Arab members of al-Qa'ida), leading to the destruction of Kabul and the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
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Major leaders of the UF itself say that, if possible, it will advance to the outskirts of the city but not enter it. Both the UF and the former king, Zahir Shah, have called for a neutral security force to demilitarize the city. Burhanuddin Rabbani, however, the president of the UF's Islamic State of Afghanistan, whom President Putin of Russia recently vowed to support, has intimated that he should serve out his ''term'' and recently stated that the UF would secure Kabul itself. This resulted from regional competition, described below, but the US must work to assure that regional competition does not again lead to factional competition over control of Kabul. In any case, it is unlikely that the UF alone would be able to provide security to Kabul. An attempt to do so would risk re-igniting ethnic war and, again, drive more Pashtuns into the arms of the Taliban. The UF has, however, commendably begun training professional police in an academy in the Panjsher Valley, which could provide a major contribution to security in the city under a neutral umbrella, as discussed below. Kabul shows the need for the coordination of a security force with the political settlement.
From the point of view of the key US interest, the main point is that the key Taliban and al-Qaida leadership are in southern Afghanistan. The UF can offer virtually no assistance in finding or hitting them. Only an Afghan government with roots in the Pashtun areas of southern Afghanistan will be able to finish the job of rooting al-Qaida out of Afghanistan. This has nothing to do with whether Pashtuns are or are not a majority of the population of Afghanistan, about which the less said the better.
Hence there is no way to achieve even a military victory that accomplishes core US goals without a political settlement that includes major Pashtun elements. The most important ways of securing their adherence will be through a credible political alternative symbolically led by the former king and substantial financial and intelligence support for anti-Taliban Pashtun leaders. That political objective will require US military action, to destroy especially hard-core al-Qaida forces within the Taliban and to convince fence straddlers to defect to the winning side, when there is one, but it will have a different impact when it is coordinated with a national (not factional) Afghan partner.
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The return of UN Special Representative on Afghanistan Lakhdar Brahimi from his consultations in the region (around November 9), about a week in advance of the start of Ramadan, may provide an opportunity for improved coordination of the military and political tracks of policy. While we will not, of course, give the al-Qa'ida and Taliban leadership a breather by suspending all military activity during Ramadan, we might examine the possibility of a bombing reduction or redirection at that time combined with more targeted intelligence efforts to give support and time to the political efforts that are an indispensable condition of our victory.
ELEMENTS OF A TRANSITION AND THEIR INTER-RELATIONSHIPS
A transition will include the following elements:
1. Military victory over or political collapse (e.g. through defections) of Taliban power in various locations;
2. Humanitarian assistance and presence on the ground to avert mass death from starvation and exposure;
3. Formation of an inclusive transitional political authority, which will agree to abide by certain principles, including denying terrorists access to Afghanistan, respect for basic human rights, including women's rights, non-threatening postures toward all neighbors, and opposition to drug production and trafficking. The authority will include two inter-related elements:
3.1. A national political authority to be legitimated by a Loya Jirga;
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3.2. Regional and local transitional authorities, which will guarantee the inclusive nature of the transition better than proportionate representation in the center.
4. Security arrangements, which will include:
4.1. A neutral force for security in Kabul, and, ultimately, other major cities, major roads, airports, economic sites, and border crossings, composed of both military and civilian police elements, both Afghan and international;
4.2. Regional and local security arrangements, probably through protocols signed by local leadership with transitional Afghan authorities and/or the UN;
5. Transitional administration, including:
5.1. Central administration
5.2. Administration of localities, districts, provinces, and zones, linked to the center through agreed upon (preferably decentralized) mechanisms;
5.3. Institutions for accountable handling of aid and fiscal transactions;
5.4. Financial institutions for governing the money supply and emission of currency;
6. Recovery and reconstruction, notably including:
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6.1. Resettlement of refugees and the displaced;
6.2. Disarmament and demobilization of fighters;
6.3. Prevention of drug cultivation and trafficking.
The context of all of these activities includes, of course, the changing situation on the ground in Afghanistan, the US effort at eradicating al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups, and regional competition, especially among Pakistan, India, Iran, and Russia.
There is an unavoidable tendency in organizations to compartmentalize these different tasks and treat them seriatim. In fact, however, they are closely inter-related and need to be coordinated at a high level. For that reason, the US needs a senior official to work full-time with an experienced team to lead the administration's efforts on transition and reconstruction in Afghanistan. In addition, we need to form a contact group of such envoys from various allied countries to meet regularly and coordinate in support of the UN's efforts.
Some of the inter-relationships can be described as follows. The immediate danger of massive famine must be averted, or mass death may disrupt all other processes. But humanitarian access will require greater security in the very near term. That security will be related to both the military campaign and the political transition. The process of transition in Afghanistan will be decentralized and regionally varied. In some regions power may shift through military efforts aided by the US (as is now being attempted in Mazar-i Sharif). In other cases, power may shift due to changes of allegiance, as may now be taking place in Bamyan, in Central Afghanistan, and as is more likely than military victory in the core Taliban areas of the south. In both cases guarantees of security, including for defectors, will be necessary to create the conditions for humanitarian action and a political transition.
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Security will not be a task to be accomplished later by a new authority, but a precondition for the emergence of that authority. At the national level, no transitional authority will be able physically to move into place, nor will the needed UN personnel for either humanitarian aid or any new advisory mandate be able to take up their posts, in the absence of security. At the same time, no security force can be formed or deployed without political legitimacy and control. Hence some combination of formation of an externally based authority and a UN Security Council resolution may be needed to authorize interim security measures, especially for Kabul, before a transitional authority is installed. This, at least, would be the ideal situation. In practice, either one group is likely to emerge as dominant in a locality, and provide some sort of security through dominance, or fighting would continue, though without any group being in a dominant position. For instance, the collapse of Taliban front lines north of Kabul could lead the UF to approach the city, while Taliban and al-Qa'ida holdouts hid out in the city preparing for urban guerrilla war and terrorist actions. ''Protecting security'' in the city would mean defeating these hard-core elements, not a likely role for any international force.
Successful and secure transitions in some places will affect other areas by the power of example and may affect the military situation through defections. A purely political transition, however, even if accompanied by security arrangements, will be ephemeral if not accompanied by quick establishment of a framework for transitional administration, using Afghan capacities and UN advisory services, perhaps requiring a new mandate from the Security Council. Afghanistan is now largely stateless, and without such an administration, the new authorities will not be able to deliver anything to the population. Hence the administration will be key to the authorities' legitimacy. For the administration to deliver anything, however, it will require immediate assistance from international donors. These can be received and disbursed only through the swift establishment of appropriate financial institutions and stabilization of the currency. Those funds must be not just committed but disbursed into a fund immediately. The actual disbursement of fundsnot just verbal commitmentwill affect the calculus of Afghan actors, who by and large are still convinced that the US will fight until its enemies are destroyed and then abandon Afghanistan as in the past.
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Annex: New York Times Op-Ed
New York Times, November 4, 2001
Guns Won't Win the Afghan War
By JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER
CHICAGONeither the current bombing campaign nor the deployment of American ground forces to Afghanistan offers good military options for dealing with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. A better approach would emphasize ground-level diplomacy, with open wallets, among Pashtun leaders in central and southern Afghanistan, the fullest use of Pakistani intelligence and influence, and selective military actions. The moment for dramatic demonstration of American military power has passed. Our resolve must now be expressed through many careful steps, or we will never achieve the victory we seek against Al Qaeda.
American airpower is of limited use because there are few valuable targets to strike in an impoverished country like Afghanistan. Taliban ground forces are hard to locate and destroy from the air because, in the absence of a formidable ground opponent, they can easily disperse. Furthermore, the inevitable civilian casualties caused by the air assault are solidifying Taliban support within Afghanistan and eroding support elsewhere for the American cause. Britain's defense minister, Geoff Hoon, recently warned that public opinion in Britain, America's most loyal ally, is turning against the war because of the bombing campaign. This will only worsen in the coming winter as refugees die from cold and starvation and the American air war is blamed.
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Nor is the Northern Alliance likely to deliver victory. It is despised by many Afghans (and Pakistan), and the Taliban outnumber it by about three to one. Alliance soldiers are poorly led, trained and equipped. Despite recent talk about how the Northern Alliance would capture Mazar-i-Sharif and Kabul, it has launched no major offensives. Indeed, the Alliance may be losing ground to the Taliban, even with American air support.
The bleak prospects have led some to call for deploying large contingents of American ground forces. Senator John McCain has advocated this strongly. But the Bush administration will only make a bad situation worse if it follows the senator's advice.
For starters, it is not clear how the United States would get a large army into land-locked Afghanistan any time soon. Some light infantry troops could be flown into Uzbekistan or makeshift airfields in Afghanistan. But mechanized forces, which are essential for gaining military superiority, would have to be moved across either Pakistan or Russia and Uzbekistan to reach Afghanistan. It seems unlikely that any of these states will agree to such an arrangement, which would be a logistical nightmare in any case.
The United States would also run the risk that China and Iran, both of which are suspicious of Washington's motives and share borders with Afghanistan, would try to undermine the war effort out of fear that a victory might mean a permanent American military presence on their borders.
Even if logistical and diplomatic problems can be overcome and ground forces are deployed in Afghanistan, our problem is not solved. The American expeditionary force would easily rout the Taliban in a conventional warwhich is why there would not be one. The Taliban would launch a guerrilla resistance from the countryside. It is unlikely that the United States could win this armed struggle at any reasonable cost. Afghanistan is ideally suited for guerrilla warfare, as the Soviets discovered in the 1980's.
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If history is any guide, most Afghans would oppose an American invasion and fight the foreign occupiers, probably with substantial help from ''freedom fighters'' from around the Arab and Islamic world. Finally, to stand any chance of winning the guerrilla war the United States would have to employ brutal tactics, further alienating support within and outside the Muslim world just when we would most need it to destroy the far-flung Al Qaeda.
Afghanistan is four times the size of South Vietnam, 60 times the size of Kosovo. Victory in Afghanistan would probably require at least 500,000 troops. (The initial peacekeeping deployment in Kosovo was 50,000 troops.) Such a large force would be needed in Afghanistan because the United States would have to control most of the countryside as well as the major towns and cities. Otherwise the Taliban and Al Qaeda would be free to operate in those areas outside American control.
In short, it makes little sense to continue the current bombing campaign or to send American ground forces into Afghanistan. The best available strategy for the United States is to use the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins in mid-November, as an excuse to halt the bombing campaign and pursue a different strategy. Specifically, the Bush administration should rely on bribery, covert action, dissemination of the American message by radio to Afghans and increased humanitarian aid, particularly to refugees, to break apart the Taliban and replace it with a regime that does not support Al Qaeda. The key to undoing the Taliban is to sow dissension within its ranks by offering carrotsbribes and positions in a new governmentto elements that might defect. American policymakers should enlist Pakistan's assistance in this effort, and they should also work with the various factions in Afghanistan to create a framework for a broad coalition government.
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The principal target is Al Qaeda, and the United States should not rest until it has destroyed that terrorist organization. Removing the Taliban from power, and discouraging states like Somalia and Sudan from taking in Osama bin Laden and his fellow terrorists, are major steps in that direction. But probably the most important ingredient in the war against Al Qaeda is good intelligence, which will allow the United States to locate the terrorists and strike at them with deadly force when the time is rightand to locate, protect and reward those who come to the American side. The Bush administration should devote abundant resources to improving America's intelligence capabilities and to buying information on the terrorists from other governments.
Americans must face a hard reality: massive military force is not a winning weapon against these enemies. It makes the problem worse. In contrast, a strategy that emphasizes clever diplomacy, intelligence-gathering, and carefully selected military strikes might produce success eventually if we pursue it with patience and tenacity.
This is not terribly heartening. But it is the least bad alternative at the moment, and international politics is often about choosing among lousy alternatives.
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company
Chairman HYDE. Let me say at this point all of you, your statements are excellent and in detail. It is really a shame that the exigencies of time require us to encapsulate your statements, because these are profound questions and take more than 5 minutes for any even remotely adequate treatment. But I want to assure you that your written statements will be read carefully and digested because the points you are making are very worthy ones.
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And, Mr. Rubin, you remind me so forcefully of the fact that after a war is many times more important than the war itself. The seeds of World War II were sown in the aftermath of World War I, and the Afghan-Soviet conflict, we just walked away from that, not concerned about the postwar correlation of strength and power, and we are back again. And so we need to learn from history and not just keep studying it, and we haven't done a good job. But you are reminding us of that, and I appreciate it.
STATEMENT OF ELIE KRAKOWSKI, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTRAL ASIA INSTITUTE, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Mr. KRAKOWSKI. Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members, it is both a pleasure and a privilege to be here to discuss this important subject. I will focus on something that I have worked on for a while, which is to say is a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the Afghan problem. And, as I think my previous colleagues mentioned, a settlement in Afghanistan is crucial to the definitive elimination of the terrorist network that has now in effect colonized that country.
And I think one of the first things we probably should be doing far more than we are is to talk about Afghanistan in essence as a hijacked state. The Taliban really does not run things as much as act as the proxy for bin Laden and the terror network, and I think as long as we keep talking about the Taliban and the Taliban here, the Taliban there, we are perpetuating an image which, in my opinion at least, is not an accurate reflection of what goes on in Afghanistan. The Afghans, as I understand it, resent very much that foreign presence and resent it very strongly. The only reason that we don't have an alternative to the Taliban, that they haven't risen against the Taliban, is because they haven't seen a clear alternative so far.
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Now, when we look at the issue of Afghanistan, the media seems to be focusing on the daily progress of military operations. The other witnesses have mentioned that there is a certain disjoint between the military and the political dimension. I would probably go a little further than that in saying that I don't quite see a clear comprehensive strategy to achieve the objective. Put it differently, I think that the military progress is in a way being undone by some of the diplomatic maneuvering.
The key to Afghanistan, in my opinion, is not inside the country, but outside of it. The fact of war for the last 20 years and more, it is true the Afghans have been fighting, but I think it has been the result of external intervention in the affairs of Afghanistan principally by Pakistan, but by the other surrounding states as well. Any settlement in Afghanistan that is not based on the acceptance of the surrounding states will not be able to last.
Over the past year I have traveled to all the surrounding countries. I was in northern Afghanistan in April and spent quite a bit of time with the late Commander Masood. I found that there was a common ground among these various surrounding states and the readiness to accept an alternative. None of them, I think, was or felt able to initiate anything, and all of them told me that they expected the United States to take a leading role. The fear was, of course, that the United States, which has a reputation for lashing out especially militarily and then withdrawing just as suddenly, would do so again.
The idea here, and what I found with some people, high officials and other influential personalities in the surrounding states, was that if the United States were to be able to do things in a way that would convince these states and the Afghans that it would stay the course, then the United States has a tremendous role to play in the shaping of and formation of a lasting Afghan settlement, because the situation is, as I believe, essentially motivated and driven by the outside.
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The formula that I have devised is to not stop the external intervention. I think that is not a realistic option. States have intervened. They will continue to intervene. What is possible, I think, is to rechannel that external involvement in the Afghan body politic in such a way that no state can even think of dominating the Afghan landscape. Each can have its own interest, but none will be able to dominate.
Towards that end what I propose is that a Concert of states made up of the surrounding states plus the United States and Russia, in effect the ''six plus two'' formalized into a concert, by which I mean a grouping of states that will meet regularly and discuss the issues, underwrite a settlement based on the acceptance that all Afghan groupings are entitled to be represented in a government, that the Afghans are entitled finally to determine their own faith on their own. That concertand I am, of course, summarizing as briefly as I can the much longer remarks that I submittedthat concert should be supplemented by a larger grouping of states that I have called a conference on reconstruction and development, and that will then add another layer of involvement by many more states and make the possibility of attempting to dominate by any one of the surrounding states even more difficult. Crucial to all that is the United States that, in my opinion, will be able to act both as an initiator or coordinator and a balancer of that new system.
If we do that, then I think that the settlement within Afghanistan not only will be possible, but it will be a lasting one, and I say that because when people argue that the Afghans can never agree to anything, I think that that is only true in a limited sense that the Afghans are fiercely independent people that have a tradition of local and regional rule. They are fully able to agree on a system by which to govern themselves.
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And I will conclude simply by saying that if we compare the Northern Alliance performance in 1992 when they seized Kabul and were unable to bring about unity and peace and the Northern Alliance in the last year, I think the difference is clear, and we see the difference also based on the role of external states. In 1992, the Iranians were focusing on the Shiites, and every other states focusing on one particular group and egging them against the other. In this past year the situation has been different, and the Northern Alliance, while it is not a solid front, nevertheless has been cooperating. I think that can hold true for the Afghans as well.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Krakowski follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ELIE KRAKOWSKI, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTRAL ASIA INSTITUTE, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
Dear Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee:
It is a privilege to appear before this committee to testify on such an important subject. My own interest in Afghanistan goes back almost twenty years to my service as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. It is then that I became actively involved in policy making on that subject. This interest and involvement has continued over time. This past year, I have devoted most of my time to a major project designed to develop a more coherent US strategy for a settlement of the longstanding Afghan conflict. This project has taken me to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, Turkemenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. In all these countries I had extensive talks with high officials and other influential personalities. I believe I am in a good position to speak about strategy from a fairly unique perspective.
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I am also convinced from my travels and discussions that we have both a unique opportunity and a way to eliminate definitively the terrorist presence from Afghanistan and to achieve a lasting settlement there. It is such a winning strategy that I propose to outline here.
Winning in the real sense of the word requires a clearer, more comprehensive strategy than appears to be the case at present. Clear military progress on the ground unfortunately does not seem to be matched by a clear overall approach. The paramount media focus on day-to-day military operations, with some attention to the need for an interim Afghan government, is a good reflection of policy reality. So is the hand wringing about how difficult it is to get the Afghans to agree to anything. I submit that we could have an interim government within two weeks if we really put our mind to it. An interim government, as important as it may be, is not the core issue.
The key to the Afghan problem is to be found not within Afghanistan but in the countries surrounding it. This is as valid now as it was in the past. While it is true that the Afghans are fiercely independent and have stood up to mighty conquerors, it is also true that it is the neighboring states that have fanned and maintained ongoing warfare for now more than twenty years. It is also this external intervention and the chaos it has engendered that has allowed the country's gradual hijacking by an international terrorist network.
The divergent external agendas, momentarily stifled in the immediate aftermath of September 11, have begun to resurface in the presence of American hesitation. Were Washington to adopt a clear, comprehensive strategy, the surrounding states would quickly be in agreement. There would be no intra-Afghan bickering, and we would be able not just to have an interim government, but to transition from it to a more permanent structure.
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So . . . how do we get from here to there?
The solution is simple and reachable within a short span of time. We should adopt a more comprehensive strategy and then ensure that it is implemented properly. I will first outline its key principles:
The premise of the strategy is that Afghanistan is a hijacked state. The objective is to restore Afghanistan to the Afghans.
The US must play a leading role and convey explicitly its commitment to stay the course and to remain involved after the immediate crisis is over. A major problem hindering progress is a widespread perception of a US that lashes out and then withdraws suddenly.
An Afghan settlement should be acceptable to all Afghan groupings and based on the common ground that exists among the surrounding and interested states. These have recognized that their old policies had become counterproductive. They remain unable on their own to move away from these and expect the US to take a leading and coordinating role. They are now willing to accept an alternative that includes a broad-based government.
That alternative should insure that each of these states has a say and a stake in the future. It should also prevent to the extent feasible, or at least minimize significantly, any future attempt at asserting dominant control over Afghanistan.
The strategy then has two components, one dealing with the situation surrounding Afghanistan, one with that inside the country.
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I. THE INTERNATIONAL DIMENSION
At the international level, the core concept is to re-channel the interventionist tendencies of the surrounding states into a more constructive direction, while underwriting an Afghan settlement. This can be done by constructing a two-tiered system of external involvement that will make it practically impossible for any state to seek control of Afghanistan. The first would be a 3-Phase Concert of States made up of a small number of states, the second a Reconstruction and Development Conference consisting of a much larger membership.
A. 3-Phase Concert of States.
At the core of this system will be a Concert of states made up essentially of the surrounding states, plus the US and Russia, with perhaps the addition of India. Over the long term the neighboring states will remain critical to the continued validity of a settlement, and it is therefore of paramount importance that they form a grouping of their own with direct input into the continuing process. The United States will continue to be crucial to the maintenance of a settlement. Its role in the future as now is to act as initiator, coordinator, and balancer. It will remain the only one capable of maintaining the necessary balance among competing interests.
Phase I would serve to formalize the existing common ground among the parties and to agree on common objectives and actions. Phase 2 would implement the initial agreement, and Phase 3 would guarantee a settlement and ensure effective reconstruction. Phase 3 would take effect with the establishment of a more permanent Afghan governmental structure and system.
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Membership of the Concert and Pakistan's inclusion. The makeup of the Concert would then be the same as the current informal grouping referred to as 'Six Plus Two', that is the adjoining states of Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, plus Russia and the United States. Given India's strong interest and possibly significant contribution to the overall effort, it might be advisable to include it in the Concert. While it might be possible to include as well Turkey and either the UK or some form of European representation, it is important to keep this grouping effective and therefore smaller rather than larger. The objective is not to have a representative sample of outside states, but to institutionalize and re-channel neighboring states' involvement. Pakistan's membership would be predicated on its acceptance of the Concert's objectives and its active cooperation in their implementation.
Phase 1: Formalize Agreement on Common Objectives and on the Establishment of a Concert of States
Phase 1 would consist of preliminary discussions among the projected parties and the convening of a more formal meeting to bring the Concert into being. It would be the briefest of the 3 Phases and would serve to formalize the already existing agreement on the general principles of a settlement, as well as to endorse the strategy being proposed here. Such an endorsement would incorporate an explicit commitment by these states to encourage further Afghan cohesion. Each of these states would be assured of a role in Afghanistan, but this continued involvement would be re-channeled to more positive ends.
The joint endorsement of a strategy, together with the setting up of a mechanism designed to implement it and continue to oversee and guarantee a settlement will signify a steady, longer term commitment and will consequently have a major impact in and of itself. There should also be some flexibility as to the degree of formality that such a Concert is to have.
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The founding conference would deal with the matters described and agree on a concept of regular consultations and meetings. My discussions with officials in the countries concerned have established that the basic agreement on the objectives listed here exists, and that these states already are in agreement with the general thrust of the strategy being proposed here.
Phase 2: Implementing the Initial Agreement
Phase 2 would move the process from initial agreement to specific initiatives to attain the objective. Regular consultations and joint activities would form an integral part of the process. As part of that commitment the participating states would agree to undertake actions from territory adjoining Afghanistan. Some of this cooperation is already taking place and would simply be integrated into the new system. The flexibility necessary to a smooth functioning of the Concert means that policy action within the Concert framework should encompass multilateral, or collective, as well as bilateral or even unilateral measures. That flexibility also means that decision-making in the Concert should remain informal and be oriented toward consensus, but avoid a requirement of unanimity.
It is during this second phase that much of the actual implementation of the strategy is to occur.
While it is difficult to assess its duration with any degree of precision, since much will depend on the degree of cooperation and the willingness to undertake at times delicate policies, some timelines can nevertheless be estimated. The creation of a new grouping in Taliban areas should be achievable in a matter of weeks, as should the formation of a nucleus for an interim government. Cessation of hostilities, to include the elimination of terrorists and foreign fighters could take several months and not be totally concluded for much longer. Major humanitarian relief should also be achievable within a matter of several months, and solid progress toward reconstruction within two to three years.
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Concert programs will entail all major categories of activities necessary to the attainment of the objective. Assistance should also be provided to facilitate the Afghans' preparatory work on the possible convening of a traditional Loya Jirga (Assembly), the drafting of a Constitution, and deciding on the form and structure of a future government (unitary, federal, etc).
Phase 3: Guaranteeing a Settlement and Ensuring Reconstruction
The initial agreement covered under Phase 1 is to include a commitment by the Concert members to help bring about and guarantee an eventual Afghan settlement. In order to maximize the effectiveness and impact of the strategy, it is important to build confidence that the present effort is not to be another short-term, ephemeral meddling. The incorporation of a longer-term commitment at the Concert's inception is important for two reasons:  It provides those states' pledge of future funding and involvement in reconstruction and,  Reassures those very states (which remain insecure as to their respective roles in a future Afghanistan) that they will have a continuing role that will be at once both carefully protected and controlled. The objective of a Settlement Guarantee will be to maintain a certain degree of transparency with regard to the various states' involvement. Some of the Reconstruction measures and programs will come into existence at the start of the Concert. Others will be developed as the situation within Afghanistan improves and allows.
B. Afghan Reconstruction and Development Conference
The putting together of a larger grouping of states, many of which have already been providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan (Western European countries, Japan, some Muslim countries) is a way of further bolstering a longer-term commitment and keeping outside involvement in Afghanistan on a constructive track. Aside from facilitating the necessary funding, it will serve to keep attention focused on the region, and give various states a sense of participation.
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While actual reconstruction efforts would need to await the return of peace and the presence of a legitimate government, a number of humanitarian and reconstruction efforts could be undertaken immediately. UN, individual governments, and non-governmental organizations programs would all be folded into this new undertaking.
Short-term projects and programs would be undertaken as part of efforts to help the Northern Alliance or the projected new southern grouping and would be merged as the two groups move toward the establishment of an interim government. In practical terms these programs would no doubt continue unchanged until a stabilization of the overall situation.
II. THE INTERNAL AFGHAN DIMENSION
[a] Declare Afghanistan to be a hijacked country, and the Taliban as not representing any one but itself.
[b] Declare the objective of US strategy to be the restoration of Afghanistan to the Afghans.
Declaring Afghanistan to be a hijacked country completely and explicitly resets the frame of reference for policy. By accurately reflecting the reality on the ground, it de-legitimizes the Taliban, while concentrating attention on the illegitimate presence and activities of the Arab, Pakistani and other extremists who have hijacked the country for their nefarious objectives.
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The idea of Afghanistan as a hijacked country should also be a powerful element of psychological warfare, and therefore made into a basic theme of the overall strategy.
The second aspect of the twofold declaration shifts the whole tenor of US strategy from revenge and retaliation to a more positive grounding that simultaneously conveys the longer-term US commitment to stay the course and ensure a comprehensive Afghan settlement.
2. Create broad-based interim coalition government
The elimination of terrorist presence and networks of camps can be made much easier through the active cooperation of Afghans, especially after the elimination of the bin Laden controlled Taliban and its replacement with an alternative Afghan interim government.
Many of the elements for this to occur are already there. What is needed is a more determined US push that will take advantage of existing conditions. For this it would be appropriate to:
[a] Encourage and bring to fruition existing efforts and talks between the ex-King of Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance and other groupings. These have been sidetracked by talk of including 'moderate' Taliban leaders in an interim government.
[b] Persuade Pakistan that it is in its own self-interest to work more earnestly at encouraging Pushtun leaders to join an interim government structure. Pakistan currently appears intent on salvaging some sort of grouping that would ensure its dominance in Afghanistan. It is time for it to recognize that this is neither wise nor productive. The objective should be to have an interim arrangement in place within the next two to three weeks. Simultaneously all necessary preparations for the taking of major cities including Mazar and Kabul should be undertaken.
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[c] The US should make clear it will proceed regardless. The core of an interim government already exists. The former King would provide symbolic leadership. In the south Hamid Karzai and some other leaders provide the nucleus for the Pushtun component; in the West of the country Ismail Khan has a large following, and finally the successors to Commander Massoud in the North complement the picture. An interim government would be declared, and others invited to join. The key is to convey a determination to move ahead.
The interim government would most probably have its initial, temporary seat in the northern zone. The objective would be to transfer it to Kabul when that becomes feasible. The interim government would proceed to the calling of a traditional Loya Jirga (traditional Afghan assembly) to make the major decisions, including the drafting of a Constitution.
3. Create Afghan Broadcasting Authority.
On an urgent basis, create an Afghan Radio that would give a voice to both the new Pushtun grouping and the Northern Alliance. At present, the Taliban retains a monopoly on Afghan broadcasting. (When I discussed the issue with Commander Massoud in late April, he said that what was needed was an Afghan Radio that would allow anti-Taliban forces to compete with the Taliban Shariat Radio).
The creation of an interim government would provide a new, powerful incentive for Pushtun commanders to defect from the bin Laden-controlled Taliban. To inform and provide hope as well as an alternative source of information, an Afghan Radio would be a powerful tool. This does not detract from the need for more effective American broadcasting.
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Under present conditions, the immediate requirements would be to provide the Islamic State of Afghanistan with such broadcasting equipment and related assistance, and ensure access to it by Pushtun leaders. Depending on the speed of progress made in obtaining Pakistani cooperation, additional broadcasting facilities could then be added either within southern/western Afghanistan or within Pakistan.
Such a Radio would constitute a powerful psychological warfare tool and would allow for a more speedy Afghan realignment.
4. Support to the Islamic State of Afghanistan (United Front/Northern Alliance)
Independently of the above, aid to the Northern Alliance needs to be expanded beyond its apparent current level. The US should provide political, diplomatic, military, humanitarian and economic assistance.
The aid, the United States should make explicit that the assistance to the ISA is being extended
In conjunction with similar assistance to new Pushtun groupings in areas now nominally controlled by the Taliban, on the understanding that both groups will expand their existing mutual contacts and form a common interim government for Afghanistan;
Taking note of the fact that the Islamic State of Afghanistan is now the government of Afghanistan recognized by the United Nations and a number of other states, and that the ISA has itself indicated that it views itself only as a temporary vehicle toward the formation of a broad-based interim government, and
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Taking note of the August 2001 ''Position Paper by the Islamic State of Afghanistan Regarding a Political Settlement of the Afghan Crisis'', and holding the ISA to its commitment to democratic rule and process spelled out in that Position Paper
The ISA remains a loose association of disparate groupings with often widely differing agendas. Some of its leaders are far from ideal and even include at least one fundamentalist, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. The assassination of Commander Massoud has eliminated the most charismatic, and no doubt ablest of those leaders. Yet the Northern Alliance owes its existence to sources that extend far beyond any individual leader. And, while Massoud's death is a considerable loss, it probably makes the cooperation of some of the leaders with his successors easier simply because these successors do not have Massoud's stature. As Commander Massoud himself pointed out to me, this year represented the first time that all Shiite parties became part of the Northern Alliance defense council. The level of unity and cooperation among the various groups has indeed gone further than any time in the past, and part of the reason for that has been a far more constructive policy on the part of the surrounding states (including chiefly Iran) encouraging such cooperation.
In order to minimize existing weaknesses and less desirable personalities in the Northern Alliance it is even more crucial than prior to Commander Massoud's death to channel all assistance through Massoud's successors (on the military/defense side this means General Fahim).
[a] Humanitarian Aid. Humanitarian assistance is clearly a very high priority. A visible program of humanitarian assistance should serve an important psychological and symbolic role. This should be done in the context of an Afghanistan-wide program and be explained as being part of the overall strategy. Since humanitarian aid has already been provided for some time to the southern areas, a program targeted at the north would simply redress the balance.
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While the UN has been fulfilling an important role with regard to this subject, the Concert can and should contemplate possible additional alternatives, some on a unilateral, bilateral, or Concert-wide basis. Each of the adjoining states should be expected to facilitate provision of humanitarian assistance to Afghan provinces closest to its own border. Clearly, the United States continues in this as in other aspects to have a leading role and responsibility. There is already a small number of NGOs working in the north. The number of such organizations should be expanded. Assistance could also be provided directly to the ISA, but should include oversight mechanisms.
Iran has already been shouldering a huge burden with the some 1.6 million Afghan refugees, and the ongoing difficulties in relations have not helped to give appropriate attention to this aspect of the problem. Afghanistan is one area in which it should definitely be possible to cooperate further with Iran, and the refugee and humanitarian situation inside Afghanistan are specific issues that can be discussed productively. Iran, provided appropriate understandings on the issues, should be willing to do more and cooperate with Concert efforts.
[b] Diplomatic. This should include the establishment of regular contact and communications with the new leaders of the Northern Alliance forces. As soon as some progress is made on the inclusion of Pashtun commanders/leaders in the ISA we reopen the Afghan embassy in Washington. Moving immediately to reopen would be a powerful symbolic commitment
[c] Economic, Political and other. We should begin immediately to provide assistance in a number of areas, including reconstruction and development projects for the north. Private enterprise, business and trade should be encouraged. There exist in the north a number of mines of precious and semi-precious stones and metals. Commander Massoud had established a trade relationship in this field with the Poles. He was reportedly worried about possible future disruptions or interruptions in any potential similar relationship with the US. These worries should be addressed and an effort made to develop trade and various private commercial undertakings.
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Appoint a Special Coordinator for Afghanistan. Consistent attention and the need for careful orchestration and coordination of a multitude of activities are crucial to the success of the strategy. A good strategy without a first-rate coordinator would be as unfortunate as a coordinator without a strategy.
The Afghan issue, because of its enormous complexity and the number of states (adjoining and otherwise), would have required (even before September 11, 2001) far more focus, continuity, and concentration of authority than established bureaucratic organization allows. Afghanistan is now the first major theater of a global war, and as such requires such concentrated coordination and operational command far more and far more urgently.
The Department of State should not be the focal point of what all agree are the initial phases of a major war. Diplomatic aspects should be subordinate to the overall effort, and should neither dictate the limits of that effort nor hinder or even undermine it. This function should reside either within the Department of Defense, with the Coordinator reporting to the Deputy Secretary or to the Under Secretary for Policy, on in the Vice-President's Office. While the latter might be more palatable bureaucratically, the former is probably more efficient.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Nouri.
STATEMENT OF HASAN NOURI, CHAIRMAN, AFGHANISTAN PROJECT, INTERNATIONAL ORPHAN CARE
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Mr. NOURI. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, honorable representatives, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Mr. Chairman, I first want to appreciate you recognizing former Congressman Don Ritter. His contributions to the war of Afghanistan against the Soviet Union are unforgettable, and we can never thank him enough.
International Orphan Care sincerely appreciates being invited to participate in this hearing in the hopes that the generation of new orphans in Afghanistan will soon come to an end. I would like to dedicate this testimony to the five orphans left behind by Commander Abdul Haq, who was executed by the Taliban on October 25. Commander Abdul Haq's first wife and 11-year-old son were assassinated on January 12, 1999, by the same terrorists that support the heinous crimes of New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Commander Abdul Haq's second wife gave birth last week to a daughter.
First, I would like to mention that I, an Afghan-American, and the two Congressmen, Honorable Edward Royce and Honorable Dana Rohrabacher from California, and other House representatives did everything humanly possible to abolish international terrorism operating from Afghanistan.
In the congressional hearing of 1996, organized by the Honorable Edward Royce, and the Senate hearing of 1996, co-sponsored by Congressman Royce and Congressman Rohrabacher, I warned our government that the growth of terrorism in Afghanistan poses the greatest national security risk to our Nation and proposed a solution to abolish the roots of terrorism in Afghanistan. That solution was the implementation of the peace plan by His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former King of Afghanistan. Commander Abdul Haq died trying to implement that plan.
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For your convenience, I have attached an updated version of the peace plan prepared by the Council for Peace and National Unity of Afghanistan. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, many experts on Afghanistan believe that the peace plan by His Majesty is the most promising solution to bring peace and justice to Afghanistan.
In a congressional meeting last December, in the presence of many House Members and officials of the State Department in the Rayburn Building, I made the following statement:
''Had the State Department cooperated with Congressmen Rohrabacher and Royce, the bombing of our embassies in Africa would not have happened and the tragedy of the USS COLE would have been prevented.''
But that is past. We are now faced with a very different Afghanistan.
Mr. Chairman, once again, I would like to state that the most promising solution to abolish the terrorist organizations in Afghanistan is to implement the peace plan by His Majesty, Mohammad Zahir Shah. However, because of the current deplorable conditions and to expedite the process, we are proposing the following three tasks before implementing the peace plan:
One, formation of the Supreme Council of National Unity of Afghanistan. Formation of this Council is essential to expedite the process and convene the emergency Loya Jirga mentioned in the attached peace plan as soon as possible. The former King has initiated this step. International support is required to expedite the process.
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Two, creation of a security force. Under the prevailing conditions, creating this force is necessary to implement the peace plan in the most expeditious manner. This can be achieved either by a United Nations peacekeeping force created by non-interfering and non-Arab nations such as Turkey or by a national security force with diverse Afghan ethnic backgrounds.
Three, creation of a secure area. A secure area is required to implement the peace plan in an expeditious manner. The area must be free from the terror of Taliban and international terrorists. I recommend that this area be the City of Kandahar for the following three reasons:
A. Kandahar is in a desert area without any high mountains around it. Therefore, it would be easier to demilitarize and maintain its security.
B. The various sub-tribes of Pashtuns, such as Durani, have common roots to the family of His Majesty. Through the involvement of the Pashtuns as well as Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and others support the King's peace plan can be developed very quickly.
C. Kandahar is Taliban's center of operations. Removing Taliban from the city will paralyze them.
I believe the above three steps would help us implement the peace plan with the least use of military force and consequent humanitarian suffering among the Afghan people.
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Finally, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to President Bush for initiating the project of an American child donating a dollar to an Afghan child. The project is consistent with the moral values of our Nation and introduces the principles of humanity to children around the world.
In addition, we propose the continuation of humanitarian airdrops, especially during the winter months, to help the expected famine this year. Effective military action against the Taliban and simultaneously providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan responds to the two grievous problems faced by the Afghans.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nouri follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HASAN NOURI, CHAIRMAN, AFGHANISTAN PROJECT, INTERNATIONAL ORPHAN CARE
Good Morning Mr. Chairman, Honorable Representatives, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
International Orphan Care sincerely appreciates being invited to participate in this hearing in the hopes that generation of new orphans in Afghanistan will soon come to an end. I would like to dedicate this testimony to the five orphans left behind by Commander Abdul Haq who was executed by the Taliban on October 25, 2001. Commander Abdul Haq's first wife and 11 year old son were assassinated on January 12, 1999 by the same terrorists that supported the heinous crimes in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Commander Abdul Haq's second wife gave birth to a daughter after his death last week on November 2, 2001.
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First, I would like to mention that I as an Afghan-American and our two Congressmen, Honorable Edward Royce and Honorable Dana Rohrabacher from California and other House Representatives did everything humanly possible to abolish international terrorism operating from Afghanistan. In the Congressional Hearing of 1996 organized by Honorable Edward Royce and the Senate Hearing of 1996 cosponsored by Congressmen Royce and Rohrabacher I warned our government that the growth of terrorism in Afghanistan poses the greatest national security risk to our nation and proposed a solution to abolish the roots of terrorism in Afghanistan. That solution was the implementation of the Peace Plan by His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former king of Afghanistan. Commander Abdul Haq died trying to implement that plan. For your convenience I have attached an updated version of that Peace Plan prepared by the Council for Peace and National Unity of Afghanistan. After the September 11 terrorist attacks many experts on Afghanistan believe that the Peace Plan by His Majesty is the most promising solution to bring peace and justice to Afghanistan.
In a congressional meeting last December in the presence of many House Representatives and officials of the State Department in the Rayburn Building I made the following statement:
Had the State Department cooperated with Congressmen Rohrabacher and Royce the bombing of our embassies in Africa would not have happened and the tragedy of the USS Cole would have been prevented.
But that is the past. We are now faced with a very different Afghanistan.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman: Once again I would like to state that the most promising solution to abolish the terrorist organizations in Afghanistan is to implement the Peace Plan by His Majesty Mohammad Zahir Shah. However, because of the current deplorable conditions and to expedite the process we are proposing the following three tasks before implementing the Peace Plan:
(1) Formation of the Supreme Council of National Unity of Afghanistan
Formation of this Council is essential to expedite the process and convene the Emergency Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) mentioned in the attached Peace Plan as soon as possible. The former king has initiated this step. International support is required to expedite the process.
(2) Creation of Security Force
Under the prevailing conditions creation of this force is necessary to implement the Peace Plan in the most expeditious manner. This can be achieved either by a UN Peace Keeping Force created by non-interfering and non-Arab nations such Turkey or by a National Security Force with diverse Afghan ethnic backgrounds
(3) Creation of a Secure Area
A secure area is required to implement the Peace Plan in an expeditious manner. The area must be free from the terror of Taliban and international terrorists. I recommend that this area be the City of Kandahar for the following three reasons:
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(a) Kandahar is in a desert area without any high mountains around it. Therefore, it will be easier to demilitarize and maintain its security
(b) The various sub-tribes of Pashtuns, such as Durani, have common roots to the family of His Majesty. Through the involvement of the Pashtuns as well as Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks and others support for the king's Peace Plan can be developed very quickly.
(c) Kandahar is Taliban's center of operation. Removing Taliban from that city will paralyze them.
I believe the above three steps would help us implement the Peace Plan with the least use of military force and consequent humanitarian suffering among the Afghan people
Finally, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to President Bush for initiating the project of an American child donating a dollar to an Afghan child. The project is consistent with the moral values of our nation and introduces the principles of humanity to children around the world. In addition, we propose the continuation of humanitarian airdrops, especially during the winter months, to help with the expected famine this year. Effective military action against the Taliban and simultaneously providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan responds to the two grievous problems faced by the Afghans.
Chairman HYDE. We will now go to the question period and Mr. Royce.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROYCE. Thank you.
I think the question is how we guarantee that we can reintroduce stability into Afghanistan. Because, in the absence of that, in the absence of long-term stability, we are going to see the continued operations of terrorist training camps. And, to that end, I think we need to focus on your testimony.
That brings out the fact that it is primarily external forces that have destabilized Afghanistan. Afghanistan had a period of 40 years of peace where the King, Zahir Shah, where we had modernization, where we had a constitution, where women had the right to vote. But it was first the Soviet invasion and after that the creation of the Taliban, which was not indigenous, and then al-Qaeda, which in fact is primarily Saudi and Sudanese and Egyptian in its makeup.
So the question I guess is how we get the Afghan groups cooperating in a way that guarantees that we have got the greatest prospect for success.
Hamid Karzai is now in Afghanistan attempting to do exactly what Abdul Haq lost his life doing a couple of weeks ago, operating to create an uprising against the Taliban. We just rescued him out, but it is clear that he has been in and out over the last few weeks creating support on the ground.
My question is, why did Abdul Haq's effort fail so quickly after it began? Presumably, he would have known the risks. I mean, his own wife, his own son had been assassinated by al-Qaeda earlier. What went wrong there? And I was going to ask Hasan for his observation, because it is going to be necessary to find a way, on the ground, to engender Pashtun support. What went wrong?
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Mr. NOURI. I spoke to Commander Abdul Haq when he was in Pakistan 2 weeks before his death. I do not know the facts, Congressman. But I can only interpret that Abdul Haq must have been misled by his friends in Pakistan government and the ISI. I believe he was set up. I believe it was meant for him to be assassinated. Abdul Haq, being the brilliant person that he was, he had apparently given too much trust to the people who led him to his death.
I believe what Karzai is doing is the right thing to do, and I want to remind you that the details of tribal issues in Afghanistan are very complicated. For Karzi to be killed by Taliban, it is extremely difficult.
The subtribes in Afghanistan, especially if they are from the same area, do not kill each other. If Karzi is killed, it will be by ISI or an Arab terrorist. In tribes in Kandahar, one member does not kill another member. It is an honor that has been followed for centuries.
Mr. ROYCE. Let me ask you, Secretary of State Powell said during his recent trip to Pakistan that moderate elements of the Taliban could play a role in that new regime, and I will just ask the panel: Should lower-level elements of the Taliban play a constructive role in a new Afghanistan regime? And how could we trust those Taliban elements? How could we trust that they would not maneuver to eventually retake power and reconstitute a Taliban regime much like the one that is there now? So I will ask that of the panelists, because that is one of the things we are struggling with as we try to put together a broad-based government.
Mr. TOMSEN. Mr. Congressman, the Afghans have been told for a number of decades now who should be in their government, as you know. First, the Soviets imposed the Afghan Communists. Then the Pakistani radicals, Arab radicals have imposed the Taliban, and they attempted to impose Hekmatyar before that. It is time for outside powers to stop speculating on who or who should not be chosen by the Afghans in this settlement process that is under way now to be in their next regime.
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This has been one of the causes for the turmoil in Afghanistan. As long as outsiders attempt to control who will rule from Kabul, war will continue to tear Afghanistan. We should recognize that as a fact. We should put pressure on the Pakistanis. I am afraid we haven't done it enough. There are examples of this where we should have put pressure on, but we haven't, to stop overtly interfering in this Afghanistan selection process of who will rule in Afghanistan.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Royce, your time has expired.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Hoeffel.
Mr. HOEFFEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to congratulate the panel for the terrific statements. You gave us a lot to digest.
We all understand the principle that political stability requires economic opportunity, economic growth. People need to have a sense of hope, people need some optionsparticularly impoverished peopleand that is what you have all been addressing, how to bring that stability and economic growth and opportunity to Afghanistan.
Can I ask you to address a larger question of how to bring this to Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East perhaps? There has been discussion in the press and in this Committee, and Secretary Powell addressed it, of a modern Marshall Plan. We spent $13 billion over 4 years aiding 14 countries after the Second World Warthat $13 billion would be $100 billion in today's figures. And we had a tremendous success in promoting political stability by helping economic recovery.
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Certainly the economies in Central Asia are far less well developed than the economies in Western Europe were at the end of the Second World War. There is much that is different. But what sort of conditions would we want to exist in those countries before we would commit ourselves to a modern-day Marshall Plan that would address not just rebuilding but economic empowerment so that people could rebuild their own countries with our help, not just have us do it for them.
Mr. RUBIN. Briefly, I would say, first, of course, that is down the road a bit. First, we have to deal with recovery from conflict. But I think it is important to note that, even as we are talking about the need for Afghans to be in a sense politically insulated from their neighbors and to be able to choose their government without interference by their neighbors, at the same time, the future of Afghanistan is as a country with open borders. And before we think about what we can do, I think we should recognize what Afghans have been doing in order to survive.
They are actuallythe private sector is alive. Maybe it is not well, because a lot of it is, of course, covert under these situations of war. But there are trading networks throughout the region. There are monetary networks.
What we need to do, first of all, is rehabilitate some basic institutions and infrastructure, like the monetary system, administrative system, transport systems. Then I think, if we can do that, plus assure that there is security, there will be a tremendous growth in the private sector activities.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need to assure that the countries of the region open their markets to Afghan products and coordinate their tariffs as a way of reducing the incentives for smuggling and drug trafficking. I won't say more about it at this time, but I think it may be a somewhat different approach than the Marshall Plan.
Mr. COHEN. I would disagree with the assertion that poverty is a cause of extremism or terrorism or political inability. India is one of the poorest countries in the world yet has a functioning democracy which has been able to absorb and channel considerable discontent. The states of the region are uneven in their political development.
In Europe, the Marshall Plan worked because there had been a long constitutional and political position in almost all of these states. They were simply building on something that they had lost or given away.
In the case of South Asia, Central Asia, it is an uneven record. Some of those states were former Soviet Republics. They are used to law of one sort of another. But in the case of Afghanistan, Afghanistan is a nation. Afghans identify themselves and others identify the Afghans as a particular people.
What Afghanistan does not have is a state. As Professor Rubin said, they need the basic fundamental institutions of a state. They need a bureaucracy, they need an administration and so forth.
Pakistan is intermediate. Pakistan has a long constitutional tradition, but that has not worked in Pakistan. In the case of Pakistan, I won't say a Marshall Plan but significant economic assistance linked to good performance on the part of the Pakistanis in reforming their own institutions would be an important part of preserving Afghanistan, keeping Afghanistan a relatively moderate street, because Pakistanis will have influence in Afghanistan.
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On the other side, Iran is also a state with a constitutional tradition of sorts going back to 1905. There again, I think this conflict could lead to a new U.S. engagement with Iran in developing those kinds of Iranian traditions which would be to the benefit of all, including Afghanistan.
Mr. LEACH. [Presiding.] Mr. Krakowski.
Mr. KRAKOWSKI. Just a short comment. I think part of the problem, sometimes well intentioned, is of looking at problems in terms of lots of money and major programs.
I would agree with what was said before by my colleagues about the uneven development in Central Asia, and I would simply add that the most fundamental problem the United States has had is in paying attention. The United States has not managed to pay consistent attention to issues and problems; and we have tended to see things as quick fix, jump in, jump out.
I would submit that the issues of Central Asia could be addressed very constructively and with relative speed if we were to find it possible to pay more consistent attention and define involvement in something other than massive military presence. But simply paying attention, looking at issues.
A place like Tajikistan, for instance, you can do an enormous amount of good with something like $10 million. One has to look carefully at the types of things that one wants to do, and I would say do it on a country-by-country basis with the underlying element of deciding to pay consistent attention to the region and to think of it also in strategic terms. We pose no threat, for instance, to Russia in that region.
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There are a lot of other elements that one can discuss in a longer context, but I think those are the points that I wanted to make.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you very much. The gentleman's time has expired. Ifyou have 10 seconds, Mr. Nouri.
Mr. NOURI. Ten seconds. I believe before the Marshall Plan we need another plan to cut off the hand of the foreign interference in Afghanistan.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thank you, gentlemen, for coming and testifying today.
Ambassador Tomsen, you responded that the best thing that we should do is stop telling the Afghans who should control or run their government. Yet Mr. Nouri said that one of the reasons that the Afghanis have not opposed the Taliban is that they don't see any alternative. And I guess my question is, you know, what role do you see the United States playing? Am I to surmise that we are supposed to send our dollars over and give the money and let them come up with whatever government they want? I guess I am trying to find out is that what you are saying?
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. TOMSEN. That is an excellent question. What I am saying is that foreign interference, includes the creation of the Talibanthe Taliban are a junior partner of the extremist Muslim network inside Afghanistan that we are attempting to eliminate and which I think we will eliminate. They are a front of foreign interference that is from radical elements in Pakistan and the Gulf.
So what is missing is a truly Afghan regime. We have not seen a legitimate Afghan regime since the 1960s. We had the Soviet invasion which put in place the Afghan Communists by force. We had the Taliban, who have been put in place by foreigners. What is needed is the Afghans need to create a regime which will be legitimate for the first time in over 3 decades.
How can that be done? It was outlined in Hasan Nouri's statement on a Zahir Shah led process, which the Northern Alliance is participating in, which Abdul Haq died for and which Hamid Karzai inside the country is promoting now right near the Taliban headquarters in Kandaharso if that process succeeds, a legitimate regime will be established in Afghanistan, and that regime then should be wholeheartedly supported by us.
But, in the process, we have to insulate the processas they go forward to create this regimefrom more foreign interference from Pakistan, from Iran, and from other countries that are interfering inside Afghanistan. If they are able to complete the process and create a regime, it will give for the first time a truly Afghan alternative to the Taliban and other interlopers who have been put in power by outside powers.
Mrs. DAVIS. If I could expand on that, then so we are supposed to just support them how? Dollars, military or what?
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Mr. TOMSEN. The main thing we can do is use our great prestige in the world and our diplomatic presence around the world to stop outside interference like, for instance, recently there was a gatheringan Afghan gathering in Pakistan which many Afghans saw as another of those Afghan gatherings in Pakistan which, as in the past, were used to choose Afghan regimes, like the AIG in 1988 was chosen in Pakistan but it was really chosen by Pakistanis, not by Afghans. President Rabbani was never chosen by the Afghan people. He was chosen by Pakistani political and intelligence operatives inside Pakistan.
So what is missing iswhat we have to do is try to use our diplomatic power and our other assets to prevent such interference by Pakistan, Iran and other countries in the process, intra-Afghan dialogue process which is under way now. They are going to choose very shortly the high council which will choose the interim government which will move into Kabul when the Taliban are driven out.
That interim government will be broad-based, represent all parts of the country, again for the first time in 30 years, and have some legitimacy, but the true legitimacy will only come with a Loya Jirga, which Hasan Nouri has also mentioned. That is a large gathering of Afghans which has been called from time to time in Afghan's long 300-year history to choose leaders in times of crisis, and that Loya Jirga will probably take place next year.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you.
Mr. Nouri, I think you wanted to comment.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NOURI. One statement that I believe I heard, Congresswoman, is that the Afghans didn't fight against the Taliban. The Afghans did fight against the Taliban and, in fact, Commander Massoud, the hero of Afghanistan, died for that.
I also want to say that the people of Afghanistan stood against the might of the Soviet Union, they stood against the might of the British empire, but they were helpless against Pakistan and the Taliban because Pakistan had a weapon that the Soviet Union and the British empire didn't have. That weapon was the religion of Islam. By using and abusing the religion of Islam, Pakistan continued its violation of international laws and crimes in Afghanistan through the Taliban.
Mrs. DAVIS. Thank you, sir.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you.
Mr. SCHIFF. I am going to pass, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. LEACH. Mr. Faleomavaega.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you.
I certainly want to commend the members of the panel for their eloquent statements and certainly for their expertise in this area. I must admit that perhaps more than any other country, we have been exposed to a nation like Afghanistan through the media, yet we understand so very little about. It seems that this always seems to be the problem, that we are faced not only with our foreign policies but our military strategies and what we should be doing as a Nation.
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One thing that I am trying to follow up with the gentleman's statements that I have not heard from the comments of any of our members of the panel is that do you think that there should be U.N. involvement in the process? I don't hear anything about this. Maybe I need to read the statements a little more closely, but I know that there have been contradictions about U.S. involvement. Obviously, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, but also right then after we left, after contributing about $4 billion to that effort to fight the Soviets, and there seems to be nothing but contradictions in what we have been trying to do in that area of the world.
But I would like to ask the members of the panel, should there be United Nations' involvement or should the U.S. take the leadership role in this controversy as has been suggested earlier by Ambassador Tomsen?
Mr. RUBIN. If I may. First, I am quite confident that you may have misinterpreted Ambassador Tomsen's meaning in that. I know he strongly supports the U.N. role, but for a U.N. role to be effective there also must be U.S. leadership, because the U.N. is an association of member states. I would say many Afghans, if not most Afghans, very much want a U.N. role. It is also an organization that is well accepted by the surrounding states, much more than the unilateral assertion of power by the United States. It is through the United Nations I think that we can most effectively support this process of forming a political leadership that will be acceptable to Afghans and make the transition to recovery.
I think the U.S. Government has already made that commitment. I will note that Ambassador Brahimi, the U.N. Secretary General Special Representative, is in Rome today and will be returning from his visit to the region in a few days. He will then be in a position to outline interlocking elements of a settlement; and I hope that he, the U.S., and other member states will be able to get behind that. But the U.N.'s role is central and crucial.
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Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I will get to Mr. Nouri.
The concern that I have is that the media has beenTaliban this, Taliban that, Afghanistan this and thatbut I have hardly heard anything from the Administration making any sense of leadership efforts with the United Nations. Efforts, for example, to get the Security Council involved, get the United Nations' General Assembly to have some kind of a real, firm solution as a community of nations being wholeheartedly supportive about the idea of creating a nation state of Afghanistan.
Mr. NOURI. Congressman, if you recall, in 1994 I was with you in Peshawar and we faced a group of Afghans. A question came before the congressional leaders that the United Nations is like one of your ministries, so why don't you order the United Nations to bring its troops to Afghanistan? An integral part of the King's plan is the involvement of the United Nations. The sooner we get the United Nations involved in the peace process, the better off we are. So I strongly recommend that we do whatever we can as a superpower to bring the United Nations into the process.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I might also note, Mr. Nouri, yes, we did meet in Peshawar, and the night at the Counsel General's residence I was given a .45 revolver to sleep with in case something happened. But I do appreciate it.
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Mr. KRAKOWSKI. Well, one of the things that I want to note is that a U.N. role is important and should be there. But it should be carefully distinguished from leadership. And when you were talking about leadership and policy and strategy, I think that unless the United States asserts a leadership role, a central leadership role and that that role remains, then I think nothing of constructive value will occur, simply because the United Nations is not equipped to doit is made up of a large number of nations, of states, and cannotit can provide assistance, it can do very useful work in terms of humanitarian aid and so forth. I don't think that it can play a central and leading role in establishing a political settlement. And I don't think that we should look to it, nor should we look to a large number of states.
Mr. LEACH. Your time is up.
I would like to turn to Mr. Smith, but could I have 15 seconds for Ambassador Tomsen who has been raising his hand?
Mr. TOMSEN. I was just going to repeat what was said, that we should use our leadership to help the U.N. process. If we don't, the U.N. process will fail. It also offers a cover for Pakistan, Iran and others interfering in Afghanistan if everybody defers to Lakhdar Brahimi to work with the different Afghan factions and help them toward this internal consensus on a regime. If we get involved directly, then others, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, others will say, well, the Americans are trying to broker an agreement with the interAfghan factions, so we are going to get involved, too.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Well, I thank all of you in your testimony, obviously backed up by knowledge and experience.
As we watch the news media now, they are showing more and more demonstrations. They are suggesting that the fundamentalist religious movement in Pakistan is now gaining much popular support. What is happening in Pakistan, as you see it, and should the U.S. involvement be greater?
Mr. COHEN. I think that the press images that we see from Pakistan are exaggerated. I have had conversations and e-mails with friends of mine who have actually observed some of these events, and CNN and the other networks are doing the most photogenic and telegenic targets of opportunity that they can. So I think we are getting a distorted picture here.
The government of Pakistan, which is a military regime, although it maintains a free press, actually began the round-up of extremists and collecting some of their weapons before the events of September 11th. They were concerned themselves about the growth of Islamic radicalism within Pakistan and the attacks on the army by some of these Islamic radicalsand also the Sunni Shi'a and the intra-Islamic conflicts that were taking place. There have been assassinations in Karachi and so forth by one community against another. So I think that the images that we see are exaggerated.
However, if the war goes badly and if it is seen as a war of Americans against Afghans in which Pakistan is complicit or a war of Americans against Muslims, then the Pakistan government is going to back away, because they could not take that political heat. And I think that there has been a significant failure of the U.S. Government and others to project this war as a war against terrorists. It is seen as a war against Afghans and as a war against Muslims and perhaps as a war against the Taliban. The Taliban didn't bomb us. The Taliban allowed others to have a base in Afghanistan, and they bombed us.
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So our war is against al-Qaeda and indirectly against the Taliban who have tolerated al-Qaeda. This has not been clear to Pakistanis. It has not been clear even to Americans for that matter. I would hope that the Administration will gets its public relations act together.
I would comment, though, many years ago when I first went to Pakistan there were American centers and American officials all over the country who had good contact with the elites and the opinion makers of Pakistan. This is true of India and other countries as well.
All of those officers are gone. All of those programs have been closed down. We won the Cold War. There was no need to tell anybody else about what we were doing. So our side of the story is not being presented in Pakistan.
Mr. SMITH. So how much of what we do should be lifting of sanctions and expanding their potential for sales of their products, and how much should be public information and the kind of dissemination of information to the public? How much of our work is information, how much is what we do, and where else should we go?
Let's just go right down the line and have everybody make a quick comment maybe.
Mr. TOMSEN. I will be brief. I will just say that, as I mentioned in the opening statement, that the political, psychological aspect of this war is 70 percent. The military is 30 percent. In the process, we have to help Pakistan out of this current mess that it is in and support the more constructive elements in the Pakistani establishment inside and outside of government to move back toward the democratic and free market track with our assistance, with our advice, with our encouragement, including the reestablishment of military-to-military relations.
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Mr. SMITH. Let's move quickly. Mr. Cohen.
Mr. RUBIN. I think the benefits you mentioned, financial and otherwise, are very important to the Pakistani elites who understand them. They have no immediate impact on the public. They are waiting to see the economic results, which they have not seen. What they see immediately is civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and probably the coming winter, a very severe humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the refugee pressures on them. So we have to do a better job, as Peter said.
Mr. KRAKOWSKI. I would say that what is important, as Professor Cohen mentioned, is that we do need to do a lot more in terms of contact with Pakistanis in explaining what we do. However, I would say that the total picture depends, one, on clarity or lack thereof of American policy; two, perceptions of that policy by Pakistan; and, three, the types of things that we actually do.
American policy has not been clear. I don't think it is clear to Pakistan. I don't think it is clear to the Afghans. I don't think it is clear to Americans. Then the Pakistanis operate on a perception that the United States perpetually comes in and out, and therefore all they need to do is appease us outwardly on some of the things that seem to agitate us, while doing what they want on the substance.
I am afraid the State Department has again gone in that direction of accepting largely Pakistani definitions of requirements, and that I think is not a healthy thing. I have described American policy in Afghanistan as a derivative policy, meaning we don't have one. It has been derived from and reflects largely Pakistan's view of the matter. So these are the things that, if clarified, can help tremendously, if then you have more Americans engaged in talking and explaining what we do, together with financial and economic incentive issues will be on the right track. Thank you.
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Mr. SMITH. Thank you.
Mr. NOURI. I believe after the war with the Soviet Union we abandoned not only Afghanistan, we abandoned Pakistan, too. I believe it is to the best interests of the United States that we help Pakistan in the economic recovery and do whatever we can to get the corruption out of that country.
Having said that, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is designed to be a troublesome border by the British. Half of the Pashtun tribe are living in Pakistan and the other half in Afghanistan. That was designed after Russia invaded Afghanistan. The British would get this brother from the Pakistani side of the border to help the other brother on the other side.
Now we are in that position that thousands of thePashtun tribes with very sophisticated weapons are crossing the border to help the Taliban and fight against us. We have got to be very careful about this. Because if we get involved in the factional war with Afghanistan, that will be the deadliest mistake that we can make. We have to be aware of this and not get into the factional fighting in Afghanistan.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you.
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Mr. DELAHUNT. I really want to thank all of the panelists for your contribution to our knowledge.
Mr. Krakowski, you could have added that not only do Americans not know what our Afghan policy is but neither do those of us who are sitting on this panel. So that we have got a long way to go, but I think it is very critical that we have these kind of hearings. I really want to commend the Chairman in his absence, Mr. Hyde, because we have had now a series of excellent panels that have educated the Members, even though we still have a steep learning curve.
Having said that, I think what it underscores is the fact that not only did we leave Afghanistan, but, as Mr. Nouri just suggested, we left Pakistan. It would appear that we left the entire region. And what I am hearing I think from all of you is that we need to be engaged. We need to be engaged constructively.
I think, as the Secretary of State said recently when he came before this panel, this crisis will present new opportunities. You have to guide us to discover what those opportunities are.
But I think it is absolutely critical, because while we might be able to solve the problem in Afghanistan, we have to drain lots of swamps throughout this planet so that the problems that are festering as a result of what I perceive to be hopelessness and oppression by states of many of their citizens just simply can't go on or we risk having more September 11ths.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As my friend from American Samoa just noted, we are overwhelmed with information from media outlets. It is 24 hours a day, the War on Terror; and everybody has an opinion.
Mr. Rubin, I have noted that you have made several appearances and have made sense. Unfortunately that seems to be an aberration when it comes to our ability to disseminate thoughtful and reflective information to the American people.
You are a distinguished group of individuals with great knowledge. Please be part of our effort that is best described as public diplomacy. Utilize every opportunity that you have not just to appear before Congress but to educate the American people as to what our interests are in the region and really tell it like it is, as opposed to it is the Taliban, it is the Taliban.
I think it was you, Mr. Krakowski, that said that the terrorists have colonized this country. You know, the terrorists don't necessarily come from Afghanistan, do they? I mean, we are focused now on Afghanistan. But it is my understanding, and correct me in my ignorance, but those that comprise the al-Qaeda network are mostly non-Afghan. Is that a fair statement? I know it is a very simple statement. It might be a dumb question.
Mr. RUBIN. One hundred percent non-Afghan.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I think we have really got to understand that.
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Mr. NOURI. Congressman, out of the 19 suicidal bombers in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, not one of them was an Afghan. During the 8 years of war with the Soviet Union, not one act of terrorism was committed against the Soviet Union. Afghans continue their war within their own boundaries. During the war with the Soviet Union, not one Russian woman was dishonored. That is Afghanistan.
Afghanistan unfortunately became the home of the terrorists largely because we abandoned Afghanistan.
Mr. DELAHUNT. That is my impression.
Can I have one more question, because
Mr. LEACH. I will consider a second round. But we have a lot of people. Let's stick with the time. Mr. Pitts.
Mr. PITTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
To anyone on the panel, there are reliable reports that the Taliban are forcefully conscripting Afghanistan men and boys to join their fight, sending them to the front lines to be killed. Their families are fleeing because they don't want their sons to die for the Taliban. Can any of you elaborate on those reports? How many families might be affected by forced conscription?
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RUBIN. I can't give figures. I will just be brief. But this is not something that only happened recently. For several years now the Taliban have been finding it difficult to recruit Afghan boys to fight, even from their home areas in Kandahar. A number of villages there would send their young men across the border to Pakistan when the Taliban recruiters came. That is one reason why the Taliban have increasingly turned to recruiting fighters from Pakistani Madrasas and from the Arab networks of al-Qaeda.
Mr. NOURI. My colleague did mention that I was going to say that the best way to recruit young and oldand young as 13is through the religious schools in Pakistan and that is not by force. It is by indoctrination and brainwashing.
Mr. PITTS. Mr. Ambassador.
Mr. TOMSEN. Let me give you an example. During the assault on Taliqan last year, the Jane's Defense Weekly anticipated that thereor recorded that therewere over 40 percent foreign troops, not Afghanistan, in the assault.
What happens is that the Arabs line up in one part of the line, the Pakistani religious students another part of the line. You also have Pakistani ISI officers directing the attack, and then the Afghans, and then the attack takes place. That gives a picture of how al-Qaeda and the terrorist network operates.
Mr. PITTS. It is reported that commanders who are beginning to be active in southern Afghanistan are receiving very little in terms of resources or support as they fight the Taliban. Could you speak to how the United States could be more helpful in alleviating the lack of resources?
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Mr. TOMSEN. Could I? Thank you.
During the first Afghan war, the Soviet Afghan war and thereafter, I was involved from 1989 to 1992. And I must state that the intelligence service of Pakistan, as has been publicly stated by generals from the ISI, provided over 70 percent of our weaponry to extremist Afghans like the Taliban leaders today. I am afraid that we went along with this.
Now we are in a new war, and I think a danger is that this rut will be recreated where we don't have much human intelligence inside Afghanistan, as has been publicly written about by a number of specialists recently. Will our intelligence forces once again walk over to ISI headquarters and say, okay, who should we support and how much should we give them? We have to avoid this. Because, if it happens again, it will feed a third Afghan war to follow this one. We should make our own decisions on who we support, and we should have our own conduits of support and not depend on ISI.
Mr. NOURI. I would agree completely with what Ambassador Tomsen has said. This is also the gist of my remarks earlier. That is to say that the United States has had a derivative policy and, I think, we should also listen to what others have to say and that doesn't mean we have to define what we do on the basis of what they define as requirements. And in helping commanders in the south, if we rely and go through, as the Ambassador just mentioned, the Pakistanis, then we cannot be effective.
Mr. RUBIN. I think there are some other dangers in what we might do as well. First, I want to note that neither Commander Abdul Haq nor Hamid Karzai have described their activities as trying to organize an armed rebellion. Of course, they are armed for their self-defense. They describe themselves as entering Afghanistan to organize the people in support of the peace plan of Zahir Shah.
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It is very important that we do not give the assistance that we may be giving to people in southern Afghanistan in the way we did before. That is, saying who can kill more of whoever the enemy is this time, the Taliban. That will not lead to success. Afghans do not want the return of warlordism and little commanders coming up, killing people here and there.
We should be supporting people who are working for that peace plan and working for a national initiative. We may be tempted as that becomes very difficult to again define our objectives in terms of how many targets can we destroy. That will really block the political progress that we need to be successful.
Mr. NOURI. I believe Mr. Rubin said it very well. But I will stress that if we want to spend resources rather than giving it to commanders, we could create an Afghanistan police force. Because there is a political arm in Rome, but that political arm cannot do anything without a military arm. And that military arm should be a national broad-based police force that would implement the peace plan and block the interference by Iran and Pakistan.
Mr. COHEN. Yes. Fifteen years ago I was in the State Department, actually a colleague of Ambassador Tomsen, I asked the question in the policy planning staff, why are we giving these weapons to those people? I got two answers. First one from the intelligence community. One was, you are not supposed to know about it. Secondly, that we are giving to the people who are killing the most Soviets, killing the most Russians. That was the end of the conversation.
I know, I am supposed to be writing policy papers. Like many others, I was not informed about the details.
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I think now there is a chance, because Pakistan itself is pursuing a self-destructive policy in Afghanistan, I think this hurts the Pakistanis as muchalmost as much as it hurts the Afghans. I think Pakistan is at one of these historic turning points in its own history, and I think there is now an opportunity to work to the reconstruction of a decent, civilized Pakistan. And that is going to be an essential component of an Afghan policy, simply because of geography and history. You can't disentangle the two.
But I think we should be clear with the Pakistanis that we will not go back to an old arrangement whereby they again develop climates in Afghanistan which allow this kind of radical Islamic movement to grow. Most Pakistanis did not like this. The policy was not popular in Pakistan. It was popularit was supported by a small segment of the army and, of course, the intelligence services.
But I think Pakistan is facing a moment of truth in this question, and hopefully we can keep their policy reversed so they don't go back to the kind of meddling in Afghanistan.
Mr. PITTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you, Mr. Pitts.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much.
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I apologize for not being here for the whole hearing today. I am Chairman of the Science Committee's Space and Aeronautic Subcommittee, and we have a major challenge with the space station budget, which is, of course one of my responsibilities. So I had to be at the other hearing.
Let me just associate myself with the remarks of several of the witnesses just a moment ago as they talked about what was an immoral and counterproductive relationship between the United States and the intelligence services of Pakistan. For whatever reason, in the beginning of the war against the Russiansthis was during the time that I worked at the White Houseit became clear that we were, yes, supporting the Afghanistan resistance against the Soviet occupation, but we were totally reliant on the ISI to deliver our support. Thus, the intelligence service in Pakistan was able to basically use it for perhaps other ends than what we expected, although I will have to say that it was pretty clear that they were arming some of the worst elements of the Mujahedeen.
Over the years, what is also clear to me now is that an immoral relationship that was established back during that war continued over the years and that America never extricated itself from being a partner with the very worst elements of the Pakistani ISI. Those of us who also have been engaged in this area realize the ISI have been up to their eyeballs in the drug trade. There was no excuse whatsoever for us to be associating and giving such authority toand our friendship and our supportto letting them be the executors of our policy with a group like those in the ISI. That is vitally important.
I would also like to identify myself with the testimony so far that has talked about the importance of having a national leader like Zahir Shah being the recipient, rather than somebody else like the ISI being the conduit for American policy and American aid.
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Zahir Shah is the only one that I have seen over these 20 years that I have been involved with Afghanistan who doesn't have blood all over his hands or doesn't have at least three or four times where he has betrayed his followers. Zahir Shah was overthrown and pretty well has been out of the picture since 1973 or 1974. Zahir Shah is a much beloved person and has now committed himself to trying to go back and head the transition government, not a government that would last but a transition government, to set up a democratic process.
What could be better than that? A man who doesn't want power for himself, willing to use his entourage of educated Afghans to set up a process in which the Afghan people can choose their own leaders. They can control their own destinies. Which is what will at last bring peace to that region, is a recognition that the people of Afghanistan have a right to control their own destinies, just like these other countries do. But we permitted the other countries, using our support, to interfere with the people of Afghanistan.
What disturbs meI will ask the panel to comment on this. I see Zahir Shah as the number one opportunity for the people of Afghanistan to have a decent government and for the United States to head a transition governmentto have Zahir Shah to head the transition and to accomplish these goals. Yet over and over again, when statements are made by our own State Departmentand which you read in the newspapersthat are obviously being directed by American policymakers, Zahir Shah's name is often just left off the list. They don't even look at him in a serious way. That is frustrating, and I would like to hear the panel's opinion of that.
By the way, thank you, Hasan Nouri, for coming all of the way out here. This man has been so active over the years and exemplifieshe is a water engineer. The educated people of Afghanistan left because they would be killed. They would be murdered. We need people who are educatedwater engineers, lawyers, doctors, educatorsto go back to Afghanistan. Zahir Shah is the only one who I think can attract them to return.
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And one point before you comment.
Mr. Chairman, the terrorists aren't the only force in Afghanistan that is foreign and not an indigenous force. Bin Ladin and his gang are all foreigners, but the Taliban is not an indigenous religion to Afghanistan. The Taliban was created in Pakistan and foisted on the people of Afghanistan by gunpoint. So let's not forget the Taliban is actually not reflective of values of the people of Afghanistan as well.
Mr. NOURI. Congressman, I took great pride for introducing you to the former King of Afghanistan in 1993. Since then, you have been convinced that is the way to go, to bring Zahir Shah as a mediator between the warring factions and to bring peace to Afghanistan; and I take great pride for that.
Also, I know you have a position there and a congressional seat there, but you really also belong on this side. Because you know more about Afghanistan than anyone I know in Washington.
I am sad to say that we have not given enough support for the peace plan by the King previous to the heinous crimes of Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, and we still are not doing enough. It is not only in the newspaper. We don't see enough support, political support and military support, to get the process going. I am strongly proposing to the United States Congress that we do whatever we can to get this expedited and shorten the life of our war in Afghanistan.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LEACH. Thank you. I apologize. Your time has expired. But if you would like to go down and join the panel, we would welcome the opportunity to grill you.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The only point I would make on this panel is that we haven't given the King any resources so far, not even the price of one cruise missile, to help him set up an alternative government to the Taliban, and we should be doing that big time. So thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank Chairman Hyde and our Committee for conducting this very important hearing. It is very timely. I regret we had a very important measure on the floor and I was delayed in getting back to the Committee.
I do have an opening statement, Mr. Chairman. I am going to ask that it be
Mr. LEACH. Without objection, it will be placed in the record.
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Gilman follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
I want to thank Chairman Hyde for holding this important hearing at this critical time.
The people of Afghanistan are facing multiple problems: severe human rights repression; war and drought; millions of land mines; and, thousands of armed foreign terrorists swaggering down the streets working as gunman and enforcers for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar.
How our nation and the international community respond to these problems is critical to international peace and stability.
For many years Members of our Committee have sought to help the former King to form a broad-based representative government that could work to address the needs of the Afghan people. At the end of last Congress we hosted a meeting in this room of all the Afghan factions to discuss his proposal to hold a Loya Jirga or Grand Assembly.
One month ago, the former King and the Northern Alliance agreed to create a Supreme Council for the National Unity of Afghanistan which would eventually choose a transitional government and form a Loya Jirga.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There have been attempts by Pakistan, Iran and others to undermine the agreement but the King and the Northern Alliance are holding firm. We need to ensure that any outside interference ends and the King and the Northern Alliance are given the necessary support to bring their agreement to fruition.
It is reported in yesterday's New York Times that the Administration has appointed an Ambassador to the Afghan opposition. Members of this Committee have been recommending such an initiative and we appreciate the move. We need to be able to speak to our Afghan friends with one clear voice and this may help us to do just that. One clear message that the Ambassador needs to forcefully convey is that the our nation is not going to permit any of Afghanistan's neighbors to undermine the King's initiative. I am disappointed that there have been and continue to be mixed signals in this regard.
I also believe that India needs to play a more active role in the issue. New Delhi needs to pressure their friends in the Northern Alliance to follow through on their agreement with Rome. In addition, the six plus two process should be enlarged to include India as a full fledged member.
Accordingly, I look forward to hearing the views of our expert witnesses today to learn how our Nation can be helpful in bringing about peace to the people of Afghanistan.
Mr. GILMAN. You know, the people of Afghanistan have so many problems in fighting repression, the war, drought, land mines, armed foreign terrorists swaggering around and giving them all kinds of problems, and I hope that in some small way this hearing can add to the solutions of what we are confronted with.
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Mr. LEACH. Let me ask Ambassador Tomsen, what strengths do you see in the Administration's efforts to help the former King and what are our weaknesses?
Mr. TOMSEN. We have had scattered Administration statements, Mr. Congressman, of support for Zahir Shah, the Loya Jirga process. But as Mr. Krakowski and others on the panel have observed, we have yet to see a clearly stated comprehensive integrated U.S. policy umbrella geared to achieve our geostrategic, political, military and economic interest in Afghanistan and the region from the Administration. And, we are at war in the region. We don't have that policy umbrella over what we are doing in which we would also put how we should proceed with this Rome initiative, how should we support it. In doing so, we shouldn't overemphasize the role of Zahir Shah. He is very old, as you know. He is 87 years old, and he does want to return to rule Afghanistan. His role would be mostly ceremonial. He is an important symbol and has great potential, but only in the sense of bringing the country back together, offering sort of the symbolic leadership for the countrywide, broad-based Loya Jirga process that is developing as we sit here. The Northern Alliance supports it. Pashtuns in the south support it. But unfortunately I will end where I began here. We have not seen a U.S. Government comprehensive policy on Afghanistan and where this all fits into that comprehensive policy.
Mr. GILMAN. And who should be evolving that policy right now?
Mr. TOMSEN. It should be in the U.S. Government, from the White House, the NSC, and from the State Department. There wasn't an Afghan policy during the two Clinton Administrations and up until September 11 there was drift in the Bush Administration and we still have not seen a clearly stated, comprehensive, integrated strategy with this element and other elements like use of our military forces for strategic goals.
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Mr. GILMAN. Ambassador Tomsen, how can we prevent some of the neighboring states as they attempt to thwart a Supreme Council being formed and eventually the Loya Jirga? They are putting roadblocks in the way. What is the best way to prevent that?
Mr. TOMSEN. I think a good example of that was the Peshawar meeting recently, and before you came in I think I mentioned that it smacked of the past meetings of Afghans in Pakistan which were meant to set up an Afghan regime in Kabul. We should take a very firm stance against these meetings and tell the Pakistanis that they don't help, indeed they undermine the Loya Jirga process.
Mr. GILMAN. And one more question before my time runs. The agreement between the Northern Alliance and the former King to form a 120-person council that would choose the provisional government in exile appears right now to have bogged down. What can we do to implement that?
Mr. TOMSEN. It has bogged down, but as you mentioned earlier, they don't go with the New York minute, the Afghans, they go slowly and they have to sort things out amongst their groups. The problem has been in the Northern Alliance. Rome has had their nominees ready to go and Rome has been ready to send their delegation to Turkey. But I think my personal opinion is that Rabbani has been behind the delay. He has opposed the Loya Jirga process for 11 years. He is very close to the Ikhwanis, or the International Muslim Brotherhood. He opposed us in the Gulf War and supported Saddam Hussein. He is not somebody friendly to the United States and the West. So he is, in my opinion, hindering the progress. But I think there is enough goodwill in the Northern Alliance, enough support for this process that it will go forward despite Rabbani's delays.
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Mr. GILMAN. Thank you. And one last question of Mr. Nouri. There have been some allegations that the people around the King might eventually like to have a monarchy. What is your assessment of that agenda?
Mr. NOURI. The King has said over and over and over that he has no interest in being Kingonly I want to die in my country, and I want to bring peace to Afghanistan. However, that is something to be decided by the people of Afghanistan, not us here in Washington. Once the King goes to be a mediator and brings the peace process or initiates the peace process, at the end of his plan is a constitutional government. It is up to the people of Afghanistan whether they want to have a monarchy democracy or they want to have a presidential democracy. That has to be left to them. But I want to stress it again that the King's peace plan, the first two phases have nothing to do with monarchy. He willnobody will be a King until the third phase, which is election under United Nations supervision.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you, Mr. Gilman. We have gone through all our questions but I wanted to ask Mr. Faleomavaega if he had a follow on. Please.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Yes.
Mr. LEACH. I will look for follow-up from Mr. Faleomavaega, and also to you, Ms. Davis.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chair, for the record I do want to compliment Chairman Hyde for calling this hearing. It is most unfortunate that most of the other Members of our Committee are not here to listen to such distinguished members of this panel. I must say that rather than hearing a battery of overnight experts that I keep seeing on CNN and other television networks, I just wish that you gentlemen would be out there as well giving the American people a true picture of what is happening in South Asia. It is really disturbing and ironic that we are trying to get away from supporting dictators, we have had our experience with Marcos. We have had it with Somosa. We had it with Pinochet. Now, we are having General Musharraf, who happens to have had a military coup, and we never seem to be questioning whether or not democracy should be our primary policy and giving new recognition to countries that have had these experiences.
I would like to ask Mr. Nouri, and I really appreciate his comments about the King's involvement, which I think is most critical for the proposed peace plan that you have. I think the problem that we have had, too, with the American people is that there has been such a bombardment of using the word Afghanistan on a daily basis in a very negative way. That is where the Taliban resides so therefore everybody in Afghanistan must be participants of what happened in the tragedy of September 11. This is really sad and it is most unfortunate we are faced with this kind of a situation.
Do you consider, gentlemen, that the use of ground forces is probably going to be the beginning of the end of another Vietnam War? That is just one question I wanted to pose with you.
Mr. KRAKOWSKI. If I can, may I? The first thing I would want to say is that to the extent that we use any ground forces, those should remain very small. I think that the Afghans are perfectly capable of taking care of whatever needs to be done. They do need help. But there is a major difference between helping the Afghans help themselves and trying to step into it ourselves. This war, as the Secretary of Defense and the President have said, is not a war that we chose. It is not an optional war. It is also a war that we must win. So there is no such thing here as Vietnam. There is no such thing here as a possible failure. I think it is winnable and I think we will win it. But in order to win it, we also have to do things that minimize the costs, that minimize the casualties and especially to Afghans.
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So if we focus and we develop a comprehensive strategy that integrates both the internal settlement with the surrounding countries, as I said, I believe it is entirely possibly to rechannel all those energies of the surrounding countries into a more constructive direction. For that the United States must take a leading role. That doesn't mean troops and it doesn't mean Vietnam and it doesn't mean any of that. What we need to do in a much more coherent manner is to help the Afghans to help themselves, and we would like to emphasize that in the humanitarian field as well. There is nothing more destructive than handouts and I don't think the Afghans want that. When I was in Afghanistan in April, one of the things that people told me is don't just give even food. Do it so that people will work for that. This is something very important that we don't often enough understand, and good intentions are not enough.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. LEACH. Thank you very much for one follow-on question. Also Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And maybe you could respond to this in writing, but I would be interested in your estimates. I think it was Mr. Rubin that talked about Congress putting money on the table. If you could submit and make some recommendations in those terms it would be most helpful.
My question is about formalizing the six plus two effort initiative. It is my understanding that this initiative includes ongoing discussions between the United States and Iran. Do you see an opportunity here for a rapprochement with Iran, given that six plus two effort?
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Mr. RUBIN. I think de facto the rapprochement is already taking place. And besides the six plus two, which is a U.N. organized body, and therefore, is easier for us, there is also an informal policy coordination body called the Geneva Group, which includes the U.S., Germany, Italy, Iran, and the U.N., which is the groups that are supporting various processes organized around the Loya Jirga. I think the difficulty will be overcoming the mutual obstacles to opening diplomatic relations, but, if I am not mistaken, I believe Secretary Powell will be meeting Foreign Minister Harazi at the General Assembly and that will be an item on their agenda.
Mr. NOURI. I believe the engagement of Iran is essential not only for Afghanistan but for the region. We have, again, abandoned Iran for too long. The prosperity of the region, which is the final beneficiary, is also the United States has got to be considered and brought into the picture. However, I have that experience of the six plus two, let us face it. The mess that is in Afghanistan, if six plus two was able to solve it, it would have solved it 4 years ago. And again, the six plus two, some of those are responsible for what is in Afghanistan today and the sooner we disengage some of the members of the six plus two the better off we will be.
Mr. KRAKOWSKI. If I may, can I address that?
Mr. LEACH. Please. Mr. Krakowski and then Dr. Cohen, and then we will bring this to an end. Yes?
Mr. KRAKOWSKI. I think the situation with Iran of course is a very complex one, simply because Iran itself has been involved in supporting terrorist groups and because there is a very difficult relationship, if one can call this a relationship, with the United States in terms of the past. Nevertheless, I think that the attack on September 11 has changed things throughout the world. And the IraniansI talked to some Iranian officials when I was in northern Afghanistan, I talked to them in Tajikistan. The Iranians were very, very seriously concerned with the Arabs in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact I was told the Taliban is not the problem; it is the Arabs in Afghanistan. They are concerned and I think that everyone around the world is concerned an attack on America means that no one anywhere in the world is safe. Therefore, it is important for the United States not only to deal with it but to win. Iran is very concerned with the Sunni fundamentalism, and I would say more than concerned. So we can engage and we should engage and we should talk. But it is not a simple process that is involved here. And that, as well as the other things, need to be conducted with a very great deal of care and with far more of a strategic understanding of exactly where we want to go, because the point is not to talk to Iran or to establish diplomatic relations. The point is to establish our objectives and try to obtain them.
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I also want to steer away from the six plus two because the problem in international politics is when people associate things with certain verbiage, ideas are not even heard. So that I am not talking about six plus two. I am talking about establishing a Concert of states. It is absolutely impossible to prevent external intervention in Afghanistan, and anybody who talks about nonintervention is really deluding himself. So what I am talking about is not the issue of attaining unrealistic goals or talking about unrealistic objectives such as nonintervention. I am talking about rechanneling that external involvement and institutionalizing to the extent that it will minimize the possibility of any one state seeking or attaining dominant status within Afghanistan.
Mr. LEACH. For a final comment, Mr. Cohen.
Mr. COHEN. Yes. I want to respond to your first request about what Congress might do. About a year ago I was in Pakistan touring some of the universities and schools there and came back and talked with Congressman Major Owens about the tremendous growth of the madras and also the decline of the Pakistani educational system. The Taliban were trained in the madras and they were educated to beI won't characterize them but they were given a very narrow, I would say bigoted education funded in large part by the Saudisand these madrasas have grown up in Pakistan and to some degree in Kashmir and India because the regular educational systems have collapsed. A small amount of money 10 years ago to allow Pakistan to sustain its normal educational systems would have prevented this because the young kids looking for education would not have gone to the madrasas, they would have gone to a more modern kind of institution. I think that is one area where Congress can be of assistance for Afghanistan, but also for Pakistan, which faces the same problem.
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Mr. LEACH. Well, thank you. Let me on behalf of the Committee thank all five panelists and say, as we all understand, generally speaking in America, this is an area of the world that has not been subjected to great intellectual rigor. Generally speaking, we have walked away from the region. But quite specifically, with each of you, you are all exceptions and we appreciate your professionalism and thoughtfulness and we are honored you have come to give your views and each has been unique and each has been quite clear and thoughtful. So we thank you.
The Committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:56 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]