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UNITED STATES POLICY IN AFGHANISTAN: CURRENT ISSUES IN RECONSTRUCTION
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
JUNE 19 AND OCTOBER 16, 2003
Serial No. 10862
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
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
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
RON PAUL, Texas
NICK SMITH, Michigan
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 MIKE PENCE, Indiana
THADDEUS G. McCOTTER, Michigan
WILLIAM J. JANKLOW, South Dakota
KATHERINE HARRIS, Florida
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
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, 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 F. NAPOLITANO, California
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
DIANE E. WATSON, California
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 ADAM SMITH, Washington
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota
CHRIS BELL, Texas
THOMAS E. MOONEY, SR., Staff Director/General Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Staff Director
LARA ALAMEH, Research Associate
LIBERTY DUNN, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
June 19, 2003
October 16, 2003
The Honorable Peter Tomsen, Ambassador, Former Special Envoy to Afghanistan
Barnett R. Rubin, Ph.D., Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, Center on International Cooperation, New York University
Bernard Frahi, Chief, Operations Branch, Division for Operations and Analysis, United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
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Larry P. Goodson, Ph.D., Professor of Middle East Studies, Department of National Security and Strategy, United States Army War College
Charles Santos, Director and Founder, Foundation for Central Asian Development
Hasan Nouri, Chairman, International Orphan Care
Norman C. Leatherwood, Executive Director, Shelter for Life, International
John Sifton, Afghanistan Researcher, Asia Division, Human Rights Watch
Zieba Shorish-Shamley, Executive Director, Women's Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan
The Honorable William B. Taylor, Jr., Coordinator for Afghanistan, U.S. Department of State
The Honorable Peter Rodman, Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense
James Kunder, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Asia and the Near East, U.S. Agency for International Development
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The Honorable Henry J. Hyde, a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations: Prepared statements
The Honorable Tom Lantos, a Representative in Congress from the State of California: The Washington Times commentary written by Mr. Lantos
The Honorable Peter Tomsen: Prepared statement
Barnett R. Rubin, Ph.D.: Prepared statement and materials submitted for the record
Bernard Frahi: Prepared statement and materials submitted for the record
Larry P. Goodson, Ph.D.: Prepared statement and materials submitted for the record
Charles Santos: Prepared statement
Hasan Nouri: Prepared statement
Norman C. Leatherwood: Prepared statement
John Sifton: Prepared statement and materials submitted for the record
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The Honorable William B. Taylor, Jr.: Prepared statement
The Honorable Peter Rodman: Prepared statement
James Kunder: Prepared statement
The Honorable Nick Smith, a Representative in Congress from the State of Michigan: Prepared statement
The Honorable Joseph R. Pitts, a Representative in Congress from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Prepared statement
UNITED STATES POLICY IN AFGHANISTAN:
CURRENT ISSUES IN RECONSTRUCTION
THURSDAY, JUNE 19, 2003
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:33 a.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry J. Hyde presiding.
Chairman HYDE. The Committee will come to order.
Thank you for joining us today at this meeting of the Committee on International Relations for a hearing on the important subject of United States Policy in Afghanistan: Current Issues in Reconstruction.
The purpose of today's hearing is to listen to a variety of policy and academic experts, as well as those who are playing an important role in the reconstruction process in Afghanistan, in order to help us better understand the dynamics of our government's strategies in securing what is proving to be the greater battle for peace in Afghanistan.
Congress made a commitment to the government and people of Afghanistan through the passage of the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002, which became public law in December of that year, authorizing $3.3 billion in economic and military assistance. The focus of the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act is to ensure that Afghanistan becomes a viable and independent nation-state that is secure and free from terrorism.
It appears we still have quite a way to go before that goal is accomplished. Concerns about persistent insecurity and the slow political and economic reconstruction process are prevalent throughout Afghanistan, as well as among friends of that country.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Recent violent attacks have been directed not only at military targets, but at foreign aid workers, who are there serving the needs of the Afghan people. They are also directed, of course, at ordinary Afghans as they go about their daily business, and at Afghans in leadership positions. Those acts of banditry, violence, and intimidation are a direct challenge to joint Afghan/United States interests and national security.
We are concerned that some of those attacks represent a resurgence of support for the Talibannot only from internal sources, but also from Pakistan.
Good governance can only come with security, and security can only be maintained through responsible institutions. Therefore, should our policy be to limit the power of those regional authorities who refuse to submit to the central authority of the Afghan Government, that is, ''the warlords?'' Appropriate support must be given to central institutions like the Afghan National Army to enable them to carry out their mandate to secure the national interest of the entire Afghan people. The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of militia members, which is key to achieving security, will be difficult, as long as insufficient opportunities remain in the Afghan National Army and elsewhere in the economy.
The United States was never meant to bear the burden of rebuilding Afghanistan alone. The monies pledged at the Tokyo conference reflect the international effort by donors to reconstruct a nation shattered by nearly 30 years of conflict. If the United States wants to see donors stay continuously engaged, then we have to do a better job working with the Afghans to achieve security. Nobody will invest in Afghanistan as long as the insecurity continues.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The fall of the Taliban regime created newfound hope in the hearts of the Afghan people. For Afghan women, this meant an end to oppressive rule and the mark of a new beginning. There were dreams that their stifled intellects would soon be engaged in learning. Yet we are disturbed to hear that misogynist policies continue to be enforced all too widely, and that in many places too little has changed for these women.
If Afghanistan is to flourish politically, and guarantee the inalienable rights of its people, it needs to be able to enforce those rights in a legitimate and authoritative manner.
Today, we have several distinguished panelists, and we look forward to their observations and analyses on the current situation in Afghanistan. I warmly welcome you to the Committee. And with great pleasure I yield to ranking Member Tom Lantos so that he may make his opening statement.
[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
Thank you for joining me at today's meeting of the Committee on International Relations for a hearing entitled ''United States Policy in Afghanistan: Current Issues in Reconstruction.''
The purpose of today's hearing is to listen to a variety of policy and academic experts, as well as those who are playing an important role in the reconstruction process in Afghanistan, in order to help us better understand the dynamics of our government's strategies in securing what is proving to be the greater battle for peace in Afghanistan.
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Congress made a commitment to the government and people of Afghanistan through the passage of the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act of 2002, which became Public Law in December of that year, authorizing $3.3 billion dollars in economic and military assistance. The focus of the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act is to ensure that Afghanistan becomes a viable and independent nation-state that is secure and free from terrorism.
It appears that we still have quite a way to go before that goal is accomplished. Concerns about persistent insecurity and a slow political and economic reconstruction process are prevalent throughout Afghanistan as well as among friends of that country.
Recent violent attacks have been directed not only at military targets, but at foreign aid workers, who are there serving the needs of the Afghan people. They are also directed, of course, at ordinary Afghans as they go about their daily business, and at Afghans in leadership positions. Those acts of banditry, violence, and intimidation are a direct challenge to joint Afghan-United States interests and national security.
We are concerned that some of those attacks represent a resurgence of support for the Talibannot only from internal sources but also from Pakistan.
Good governance can only come with security, and security can only be maintained through responsible institutions. Therefore, should our policy be to limit the power of those regional authorities who refuse to submit to the central authority of the Afghan government, that is, the ''warlords''? Appropriate support must be given to central institutions like the Afghan National Army to enable them to carry out their mandate to secure the national interest of the entire Afghan people. The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of militia members, which is key to achieving security, will be difficult as long as insufficient opportunities remain in the Afghan National Army and elsewhere in the economy.
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The United States was never meant to bear the burden of rebuilding Afghanistan alone. The monies pledged at the Tokyo conference reflect the international effort by donors to reconstruct a nation shattered by nearly thirty years of conflict. If the United States wants to see donors stay continuously engaged, then we have to do a better job working with the Afghans to achieve security. Nobody will invest in Afghanistan as long as the insecurity continues.
The fall of the Taliban regime created newfound hope in the hearts of the Afghan people. For Afghan women, this meant an end to oppressive rule and the mark of a new beginning. There were dreams that their stifled intellects would soon be engaged in learning. Yet we are disturbed to hear that misogynist policies continue to be enforced all too widely and that in many places too little has changed for these women.
If Afghanistan is to flourish politically, and guarantee the inalienable rights of its people, it needs to be able to enforce those rights in a legitimate and authoritative manner.
Today, we have several distinguished panelists, and we look forward to their observations and analyses on the current situation in Afghanistan. I warmly welcome you all to the Committee.
I will now yield to my colleague, Ranking Democratic Member Tom Lantos, so that he may make his opening statement.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. LANTOS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this extremely important hearing.
I think the fact that so few of our colleagues are attending this hearing is emblematic of the problem. And while I would like to submit my prepared opening statement for the record [not submitted], I would like to make some observations, because there are profound similarities between the crisis in Afghanistan and the crisis in Iraq, which we will need to tackle on a fully bipartisan basis. These are national problems.
Our victory in Afghanistan 18 months ago, like our more recent victory in Iraq, rid the world of dangerous, repressive terrorist regimes, and promises to deliver peace, prosperity, and eventually some form of democracy to the captive Afghan people. And in so doing, enhance their national security, and that of the entire civilized world.
It so happens, Mr. Chairman, that the military phase of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi operation will be taught as extraordinarily successful examples of military strategy, and the lightning speed with which victories were achieved, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq, will be a subject of study for military historians for generations to come. And while the two situations are extremely different, there is one profound similarity between the Afghan situation and the Iraq situation.
We, as a nation, and our government, and specifically our Department of Defense, are congenitally opposed to the concept of peace-keeping and nation-building. When in point of fact, the concept of peace-keeping and nation-building are inextricably intertwined with a military victory. A military victory will be gradually eroded unless there is effective peace-keeping, unless there is effective nation-building. And while I do not have a push-button solution, I think one clearly logical avenue to explore will be to develop within NATO a major peace-keeping capability. We basically won the war by ourselves in the case of Afghanistan, with local support in the case of Iraq, with British support.
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But then attention has turned away. People are preoccupied with new crises and new problems. Our Department of Defense is not enamored of peace-keeping, understandably so. And we have no established mechanism for nation-building.
Now, one of the signs of political maturity, which I hope this Administration will display because it was so strongly opposed to concepts of peace-keeping and nation-building, is to recognize that you change your mind if circumstances compel you to change your mind. And clearly the Afghan situation compels us to do so.
I would like unanimous consent, Mr. Chairman, to insert in the record an article I wrote for The Washington Times entitled ''Secure Afghanistan Now.''
Chairman HYDE. Without objection.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The information referred to follows:]
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Mr. LANTOS. The thesis of the article is self-evident, and certainly not original. It is basically that outside of Kabul there is very little stability; even in Kabul there is very little stability. This is a huge country. This is like establishing a modicum of security in Paris, but not in the rest of France, or a modicum of stability in any capital city with the rest of the country being in the hands of warlords, gangsters, opium traffickers, and other unsavory characters.
I believe that our military victory against the Taliban has not fulfilled its post-war promise. And while I think historically it was an enormously significant achievement, since the radical Islamist yoke has now been lifted and freedom has been restored for many Afghans, peace remains elusive. And the security situation is deteriorating daily.
The new Afghan army, which we are in the process of creating, at the moment has about 5,000 members. And there is a consensus that something like 70,000 individuals need to be in this army, fully trained, fully equipped, to begin to perform their duty of providing security in this large and complex and faction-ridden society.
Earlier this month, Mr. Chairman, as you know, four German peace-keepers were killed and 29 injured in Kabul by a terrorist car bomb. This is painfully reminiscent of our losses in Iraq on a steady basis of our own soldiers. Humanitarian aid workers, as well as military personnel, are being routinely targeted by terrorists and by feuding warlords. Banditry, rape, and armed intimidation are becoming commonplace in the Afghan hinterlands, as warring ethnic groups, goaded by warlords and their private armies, intensify their violent power struggles.
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Terrorists are exploiting this anarchy. Al-Qaeda and Taliban remnants appear to be reconstituting themselves, mounting a concerted effort to destabilize the government, impede reconstruction, and terrorize the population, in the hopes of making Afghanistan ungovernable until the United States gets tired and departs.
Mr. Chairman, we simply cannot allow this to stand. We cannot afford to squander our hard-fought victory against the Taliban. It is time for a new, more robust approach to Afghanistan security before it is too late.
First and foremost, other nations, especially NATO members, must do more. NATO has recently agreed to take over the 4500-person international security assistance force known as ISAF in Kabul. This is a necessary, but an insufficient, response to meet the security needs even in Kabul. NATO troops are needed now throughout Afghanistan in large numbers. NATO minimally must double the size of ISAF, and expand its mandate to provide greater security along major highways, and to prevent acts of banditry, human rights abuses, and intimidation.
For our part, we must press NATO to assume a bigger role in Afghan security, and guarantee the necessary logistical support for an expanded peace-keeping mission. We must decide whether we continue to support warlordsand I see some short-term practical benefits in it, but greater long-term dangersor whether we truly support the central government led by President Karzai, whom you and I hosted here some months ago.
During the war we had no choice but to cooperate with regional military commanders and their militias to defeat our common enemy. But with the Taliban gone, our purposes and their purposes have diverged. It was inevitable that Afghanistan's regional warlords would regain power in the wake of the Taliban's defeat. But it is not inevitable that they retain and expand their power. Our continuing close military relationship with them only strengthens their hold over the local populations.
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It is time, Mr. Chairman, to make the warlords realize that their continued relevance lies not with their armies, but with the new emerging democratic system in Afghanistan. We must compel the warlords to lay down their arms and recognize the power of the central government.
To prove that we are not only disarming rivals of favored warlords, the United States should begin by disbanding the private armies of both Defense Minister Fahim and Herat Governor Khan.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the international community and we must redouble our efforts to democratize Afghanistan. The current constitutional drafting process is secretive, and apparently strongly influenced by Islamist hard-liners. There is little or no public input. There are reports of intimidation of democracy advocates and political reformers. Elections are less than a year away. For democracy to take root in Afghanistan, it must be protected from warlords, exposed to the sunlight of open debate. And, Mr. Chairman, it is not too late to vindicate our victory in Afghanistan by reenforcing international peace-keeping, reigning in the warlords. And until we take these steps, until we show the same leadership in peace that we showed in war, our victory could prove in vain.
Thank you very much.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Lantos. Thank you for a very comprehensive statement.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Since we have two panels of experts today, and I would like to get to all of them, of course, I am going to ask unanimous consent that any other opening statements by other Members may be made a part of the record at this point.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Yes, Mr. Ackerman.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Just reserving, but not intending, of course, to object, I would just like to suggest, if not for today but in any future hearings where the Full Committee takes up a subject not taken up by the appropriate Subcommittee of jurisdiction, that at least the Chairman and ranking Member be permitted to make opening statements.
Chairman HYDE. Well, I thank you. The Chairman and the ranking Member always do make opening statements. That will continue in that vein.
Ambassador Peter Tomsen, in the first panel, is a retired career foreign service officer who served as United States Ambassador to Armenia from 1995 to 1998. Prior to that assignment, Ambassador Tomsen was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. He was President George H. W. Bush's Special Envoy to Afghanistan, with the rank of Ambassador, from 1989 to 1992. Ambassador Tomsen graduated from Whittenberg University in 1962 and holds a Master's Degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Welcome, Ambassador Tomsen.
Professor Barnett Rubin served as Special Advisor to the U.N.'s Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, during the negotiations that produced the Bonn Agreement, which Professor Rubin helped to draft. From 1994 to 2000, he was Director of the Center for Preventive Action and Director of Peace in Conflict Studies at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York. He is now a Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. He is also the author of many books and articles on Afghanistan. Welcome, Professor Rubin.
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Mr. Bernard Frahi was appointed Chief of the Operations Branch at the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in April of this year. In this capacity he oversees drug and crime-related technical assistance programs worldwide, through a network of 21 field offices. Prior to this assignment, Mr. Frahi was the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 1998 to 2002. He is a French citizen, holds a Master of Arts degree in Law, and a degree in Criminology. Welcome, Mr. Frahi.
Professor Larry Goodson teaches Middle East Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College and is an Adjunct Professor at Dickinson College. Mr. Goodson served as an international monitor and technical advisor for elections at the Loya Jirga for the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. He is also the author of Afghanistan's Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban. He studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received his B.A. in Political sCience and Economics in 1984, and his Ph.D. in Political Science in 1990. Welcome, Professor Goodson.
Mr. Charles E. Santos is a specialist on Central Asian energy and politics. He is also the Director and founder of the Foundation for Central Asian Development. Mr. Santos helped establish the U.N. Special Mission to Afghanistan and served as its first political advisor. Welcome, Mr. Santos. We are honored that all of you are before our Committee.
And may I request, gently, that you confine your opening remarks to about 5 minutes as a summary? And your full statement, of course, will be made a part of the record.
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STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER TOMSEN, AMBASSADOR, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN
Mr. TOMSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.
The stunning American-led military victory in Afghanistan which ousted the Taliban and al-Qaeda regime has not been followed by an effective, adequately-funded reconstruction strategy to help Afghans rebuild their country and restore their self-governing institutions. Today there is a sense among Afghans, foreigners working in Afghanistan, and the media that the U.S.-led coalition and the moderate Hamid Karzai government have lost the initiative in Afghanistan.
If the present trends continue, 5 years from now Afghanistan is likely to look very much like it does today: Reconstruction stagnation, a weak central government starved of resources, unable to extend its influence to the regions where oppressive warlords reign, opium production soars, and guerilla warfare in Afghan/Pakistani border areas generated by Pakistan-based Muslim extremists continues to inflict casualties on coalition and Afghan forces.
A second possible scenario 5 years from now, while less likely, forecasts an even worse outcome: Backsliding to the externally-fueled, chaotic 1992 to 1996 period of warlord conflict and chaos inside Afghanistan. Influential circles in Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, and the Persian Gulf, for their own reasons, would welcome the resulting deterioration in the U.S.-led coalition's position in Afghanistan. Muslim extremists from Southeast Asia to North Africa would gain new followers by portraying a western retreat from Afghanistan. The U.S. and its allies would be compelled to prepare another costly miliary operation to prevent the growing hemorrhaging of international terrorism, instability, and drugs from Afghanistan.
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How can the strategic initiative in Afghanistan be recaptured? I have three positive recommendations, aimed at: One, revitalization of the coalition security and economic effort in Afghanistan. Two, achieving better coordination and policy direction for U.S. Government agencies operating in Afghanistan. And three, empowering Afghan moderates through institution-building.
The first recommendation urges an expanded NATO deployment, such as recommended by Congressman Lantos, coupled with the fresh reconstruction push that restores positive momentum in Afghan reconstruction. The U.S. should seek NATO approval to augment the international peace-keeping force in Afghanistan when NATO takes over the U.N. mandate for the ISAF in early August.
In addition to the approximately 5,000 troops in Kabul, NATO should employ two additional brigades to Afghanistan. One brigade should complement the U.S. 82nd Airborne Brigade down in Kandahar. This NATO brigade should be along the Afghan/Pakistan border in the east. The second NATO brigade should be exclusively devoted to protecting infrastructure projects, like roads, dams, and large bridges, coming on line in Afghanistan.
As we proceed on expanding the international peace-keeping force, however, we need to avoid two things. One is the briar patch of internal Afghan politics. Two is taking over the incentive for the Afghans themselves to do the job.
My second recommendation proposes creation of an overall U.S. policy on Afghanistan, better coordination on the ground, and a higher priority for Afghan institution-building. All three of these points were stressed in the splendid Afghanistan Freedom Support Act initiated by this Committee and passed by Congress last year. The Administration, however, has yet to create both a long-term Afghan policy and a mechanism to ensure disciplined inter-agency implementation of that policy. Separate stovepipe operations by different U.S. agencies operating inside Afghanistan remain the norm. Occasional White House meetings produce fixes, which have been piecemeal, not strategic, such as the instruction to USAID to complete its stalled Kabul-Kandahar road project by the end of 2003. Sending out more high-level officials to join the three Ambassadors already in Kabul will not do the job. The policy drift in U.S./Afghan policy must first be resolved in Washington.
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The State and Defense Departments, the CIA, and USAID are the four main U.S. Government agencies active in Afghanistan. The Central Intelligence Agency's operations are a major obstacle to a unified and effective U.S. policy in Afghanistan. The Bush Administration needs to remember that the CIA is a policy-implementing, not a policy-making, institution.
You may recall, Mr. Chairman, that in the International Relations Committee's Afghan hearing in November, 2001, Dr. Rubin, Dr. Nouri, Dr. Kratkowsky and myself all warned about a renewal of the CIA's dependence on Pakistan's powerful Inter-Service's Intelligence Directorate (ISI) in deciding which Afghans the United States should support. That was a problem in the past; I am afraid it continues to be a problem. Unfortunately, during the overthrow of the Taliban/al-Qaeda regime, CIA personnel operating in Pakistan poured tens of millions into financing the return of the unpopular warlords whose misrule in the nineties played a catalytic role in the seizure of power by the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Today the CIA's independent ability to secretly fund Afghan contenders is undercutting stability and reconstruction in Afghanistan.
The Department of Defense has demonstrated creativity in establishing the impressive Provincial Reconstruction Teams, PRTs, which blend security and development goals. DOD is also stationing construction engineers in some key Afghan ministries. These laudable DOD initiatives, however, have not been part of an integrated American reconstruction strategy in which all U.S. Government agencies are coordinating to maximize results.
The PRTs are doing excellent development work, but are under-resourced. They have great potential to do much more. The U.S. should double the currently-planned eight PRTs.
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Mr. Chairman, the State Department has so far failed to seize the inter-agency initiative on Afghan policy, as recommended by Congress in the Afghan Freedom Support Act. This could begin with the state's establishment of an overall U.S./Afghan policy and an implementing strategy supported by the White House and other U.S. Government agencies involved in Afghanistan. The able U.S. Ambassador in Kabul, although Chief of Mission, seems to manage only one of four U.S. Government policies in Afghanistan. Other agencies have pushed into the policy vacuum.
Mr. Chairman, USAID, after a wobbly start, has done some very good work in Afghanistan in education and other areas. On the downside, too often critical time-sensitive U.S. goals of creating stability, security, jobs, democracy, and revived governing institutions are sacrificed to the torturously slow USAID bureaucratic process. USAID is also moving too slowly in assigning USAID personnel with adequate funds to the PRTs, where tangible development activity is actually taking place. Unfortunately, USAID continues in practice to resist guidelines to give a higher priority to Afghan institution-building.
USAID's mixed performance in Afghanistan reflects the shortcomings of a bureaucratic system. In no way does this distract from the fine work by the talented, dedicated, hard-working U.S. staff in Washington and in the field. And in my longer written testimony, I give some recommendations to the Congress and the Executive Branch for reforming USAID.
Mr. Chairman, my time has run out. I have a section on the Bonn Agreement. Let me agree with both you and Mr. Lantos in saying that it has encountered rough waters due to rising security concerns inside Afghanistan. However, resumption of externally-stoked conflict within Afghanistan is perhaps the biggest threat to the Bonn process. One face of the Pakistani ISI, in coordination with Muslim extremist circles in Pakistan, continues to assist radical Afghan groups mounting attacks into Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan. Over half of the Taliban cabinet remains in Pakistan, and they are not just sipping tea.
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Iranian military and economic assistance to warlords near the Iranian-Afghan border mirror its machinations to an eastern Iraq, and raise suspicions about Iran's rhetorical support for the Bonn process. The ruling clerics in Iran have an allergy to the Bonn Agreement goals of democracy, tolerance, and rule of law.
Mr. Chairman, let me conclude with just mentioning the final recommendation, which is empowering moderate Afghans. It is clear that only the Afghan moderates, symbolized by President Karzai, Foreign Minister Abdullah, and most of the Afghan cabinet have the desire and intention to implement the democratic Bonn roadmap. Ikhwani (Muslim Brotherhood), Afghan Islamists, such as Hekmatyar, Sayyaf, and Rabbani, may now pay lip service to democracy and elections. Ideologically and politically, they would once more embrace the anti-Western, al-Qaeda brand of Muslim totalitarianism as soon as opportunity permits.
U.S. policy should therefore become much more decisive in building up the moderate Karzai regime. The emphasis must be on gradually strengthening the central government and its reach into the regions through the center's economic, police, and military presence in the provinces.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of the Mr. Tomsen follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER TOMSEN, AMBASSADOR, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The stunning American-led military victory in Afghanistan which ousted the Taliban-Al Queda regime has not been followed up by an effective, adequately funded reconstruction strategy to help Afghans rebuild their country and restore their self-governing institutions. The initial enthusiasm genuinely felt by the Afghan people that peace was returning has clearly faded. Today, there is a sense among Afghans, foreigners working in Afghanistan, and the media that the U.S.-led coalition and the moderate Hamid Karzai government have lost the initiative in Afghanistan.
Mr. Chairman, this does not mean that the momentum is now with the ragtag bands of fanatics left over from the Taliban-Al Queda period presently staging sporadic attacks into Afghanistan from Pakistan. No, instead there is a sort of pall, a paralysis, obfuscating the future of Afghanistan. The overwhelming majority of Afghans oppose the Muslim extremists, the hated warlords, and continuing violence. But, increasingly fearful of the future, many are switching gears back to neutral in the event the U.S. and its allies leave and the fanatics return.
CURRENT TRENDLINES IN AFGHANISTAN
If present trends continue, five years from now Afghanistan is likely to look very much like it does today: reconstruction stagnation, a weak central government starved of resources, unable to extend its influence to the regions where oppressive warlords reign, opium production soars, and guerrilla warfare in Afghan-Pakistani border areas generated by Pakistan-based Muslim extremists continues to inflict casualties on coalition and Afghan forces.
A second possible scenario five years from now forecasts an even worse outcome: backsliding to the externally fueled, chaotic 19921996 period of warlord conflict and chaos inside Afghanistan. This scenario involves warlords deploying ever larger forces, heavy weapons and aircraft to fight pitched battles with each other to expand their territorial control, capture more of the lucrative drug trade and extort money from traders. As in the 1990s, Kabul itself would eventually fall victim to conflict among warlords and Muslim extremists. The Western presence in Afghanistan would dwindle due to deteriorating security. Afghanistan would once more suffer great humanitarian tragedy, massive refugee outflows, human and gender rights violations.
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Influential circles in Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China, each for its own reasons, would welcome deterioration in the U.S.-led coalition's position in Afghanistan. They would resume their competition for geo-political advantage against one another in Afghanistan, each employing their favored Afghan warlords or religious extremists. Al Queda, Taliban and other Muslim radicals would re-establish Afghan bases for international terrorism. Muslim extremists from Southeast Asia to North Africa would gain new followers by portraying a Western retreat from Afghanistan. The U.S. and its allies would plan another costly military operation to prevent the growing hemorrhaging of international terrorism, instability and drugs from Afghanistan.
NEEDED: A NATO DEPLOYMENT AND FRESH RECONSTRUCTION PUSH THAT RESTORES POSITIVE MOMENTUM IN AFGHAN RECONSTRUCTION
The U.S. should seek NATO approval to augment the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan when NATO takes over the UN mandate for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in early August. In addition to the approximately 5,000 troops in Kabul, NATO should deploy two additional brigades to Afghanistan.
One brigade would be teamed up with Afghan national police, military and local tribal militia to protect the road, bridge and major irrigation projects under construction or planned in Afghanistan. Those projects are critical to ending the isolation of Afghanistan's regions from Kabul. Such isolation from Kabul underpins warlord rule, poppy production and openings for attacks by radical Muslims from Pakistan.
The second NATO brigade would be stationed along the eastern Afghan-Pakistani border. It would complement the Kandahar-based U.S. 82nd Division brigade screen against radical Muslim incursions from Pakistan in Afghanistan's southwest. The second NATO brigade's mission should include assisting the under-equipped, under-funded, beleaguered Afghan border patrol and national police units guarding the eastern Afghan-Pakistani frontier.
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These NATO deployments are not sufficient to restore positive momentum in Afghanistan. The U.S.-led coalition must parallel the NATO military initiative with a reconstruction ''push.'' This means more resources for Afghan reconstruction from the international community, particularly for rebuilding Afghan self-governing institutions and infrastructure projects. It also entails better organization within the U.S. Government to ensure a more effective U.S. strategy on Afghanistan.
NEEDED: AN OVERALL U.S. POLICY, BETTER COORDINATION ON THE GROUND, INSTITUTION BUILDING
The Bush Administration is yet to create both a long term Afghan policy and a mechanism to ensure disciplined interagency implementation of that policy. In the Afghanistan Freedom Support Act, Congress' suggested remedy was a Coordinator within the State Department to create ''an overall strategy'' for Afghanistan. The bill recommended that the Coordinator also be responsible for ''ensuring program and policy coordination among agencies of the United States Government'' and for ''resolving policy and program disputes among United States Government agencies. . . .''
These worthy goals remain unmet. There still is no overall U.S. policy for Afghanistan. Separate ''stovepipe'' operations by different U.S. agencies in Afghanistan remain the norm. Occasional White House ''fixes'' have been piecemeal, not strategic, such as the instruction to USAID to complete its stalled Kabul-Kandahar road project by the end of 2003. Sending out more high level officials to join the three ambassadors already in Kabul will not do the job. The policy drift in U.S. Afghan policy must first be resolved in Washington.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The State and Defense Departments, the CIA and USAID are the four main U.S. Government agencies active in Afghanistan. Their individual operations are frequently not coordinated. Often they are conflictive. Afghan officials in Kabul and the regions are alternately confused and amused, as well as frustrated and angered by the different signals, commitments and policies of these various U.S. agencies operating in their country. The declared U.S. policy of supporting the Karzai Government and withdrawing support for warlords is not being implemented in the case of many warlords. Ironically, a common U.S. appeal to Afghans is to unifyeven while U.S. agencies in Afghanistan are not unified.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
CIA operations are a major obstacle to a unified and effective U.S. policy in Afghanistan. The Bush administration needs to remember that the CIA is a policy implementing, not a policy making institution. Unfortunately, during the overthrow of the Taliban-Al Queda regime, the CIA poured tens of millions into financing the return of the unpopular warlords whose misrule in the 1990s played a catalytic role in the seizure of power by the Taliban and Al-Queda. ''This is the CIA's strategy. We're just implementing that strategy'', Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld complained in Bob Woodward's Bush at War narrative of the post 9/11 Afghan war strategy sessions in the White House.
CIA freelancing in Afghanistan is nothing new. In 19891992, contrary to the then American policy to support a broad-based Afghan political settlement process, such as occurred following the Taliban's ouster, the CIA worked closely with Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) to pursue a purely military policy aimed at replacing the Afghan communist regime with Afghan Muslim extremists. CIA officials in Washington parroted the false ISI line that moderates like Hamid Karzai and Abdul Haq had few followers in Afghanistan. Today, the CIA's ignorance of the complicated Afghan situation, scarce CIA human intelligence assets in Afghanistan and the Agency's independent ability to secretly fund Afghan contenders are all too reminiscent of the CIA's counterproductive tactics during that period.
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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
The Department of Defense (DOD) has demonstrated creativity in establishing the impressive Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Blending security and development, the PRTs are constructing small scale reconstruction projects in Afghanistan's poverty stricken rural areas and towns where most Afghans live. DOD is also stationing construction engineers in some key Afghan ministries.
These laudable DOD initiatives, however, have not been part of an integrated American reconstruction strategy in which all U.S. Government agencies are coordinating to maximize results. DOD should also be more aggressive in exploiting the PRT reconstruction platforms. The less than $20 million DOD set aside for PRT projects this year will not make more than a reconstruction dent in Afghanistan's thirty-two provinces.
The under-resourced PRTs are nevertheless doing excellent development work and have great potential to do much more. The U.S. should double the currently planned eight PRTs. (The Gardez PRT must cover five tough provinces in the eastPaktia, Paktika, Khowst, Logar and Ghazni!).
The PRTs are winners, an innovative, productive framework for reconstruction in Afghanistan's rural areas. There should be more of them and more project funding support for each.
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE
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The State Department has so far failed to seize the interagency initiative on Afghan policy, as recommended by Congress in the Afghan Freedom Support Act. This could begin with State's establishment of an overall U.S. Afghan policy and implementation strategy supported by the White House and other U.S. Government agencies involved in Afghanistan.
Last fall, the State Department dispatched its superb international development specialist, Ambassador William B. Taylor, to Kabul. It has staffed up its own Afghan Coordinator's office. These measures, however, have not changed the impression that State has failed to exercise policy leadership on Afghanistan. The able U.S Ambassador in Kabul, although ''Chief of Mission'' seems to manage only one of four U.S Government policies in Afghanistan. Other agencies have pushed into the policy vacuum.
Within the State Department, since 9/11, no U.S. diplomat has yet started long term (forty-four week) Afghan language and area studiesan omission which contradicts the President and Secretary Powell's assurances that the U.S. intends a long term commitment to Afghanistan. The State Department has also had a hard time placing diplomats in the Pentagon's PRTs in Afghanistan, and then the assignments are for a ''come and go'' six month period. Rather than increase the incentives, State has turned to its retirees, some quite elderly, to serve in such Spartan locations as Konduz and Herat.
After a wobbly start, USAID has begun to register some significant accomplishments in Afghan reconstruction. Working with other donors and the Afghan Central Bank, USAID assisted the creation and distribution of a new Afghan currency. The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) is now up and running in Afghanistan, producing a growing number of small projects. USAID sponsored Non-Governmental Organizations have printed millions of textbooks, trained teachers and reconstructed schools for boys and girls. USAID is also introducing modern facilities into the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank.
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USAID's general record in Afghanistan, however, contrasts with its dynamic successes decades ago in South Korea, India, Taiwan, Turkey and elsewhere. Twenty years ago, USAID did outstanding work when USAID direct hire employees with technical expertise were in the fieldspecialists in everything from road building engineers to PhDs in agriculture. These skilled development experts knew how to manage projects directly and get results. They could liaise with host country ministries, read the blueprints, certify results, and often speak the local language.
Times have changed. USAID has drifted away from field work and become a huge contract writing agency. This has an especially deleterious effect in managing important infrastructure projects, such as major roads, bridges and dams. It takes USAID many months to negotiate contracts for large projects, then to transfer congressionally appropriated funds to contractors, who sub-contract to smaller contractors or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which then hire the technical expertise for projects on the ground. Concrete project implementation is delayed and feeble. Contractors and host country officials become frustrated by USAID regulations and bureaucracy. Too often, critical time-sensitive U.S. goals of creating stability, security, jobs, democracy, and revived governing institutions are sacrificed to the tortuously slow USAID bureaucratic process.
One noteworthy contribution USAID has made in recent yearsquick, effective emergency action response using USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)has atrophied. USAID initially stationed a large OFDA team to Islamabad and Tashkent for deployment to Afghanistan, then deactivated it.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 USAID is moving too slowly in assigning USAID personnel with adequate funds to the PRTs, where tangible development activity is actually taking place.
BUILDING AFGHAN INSTITUTIONS
Unfortunately, USAID continues in practice to resist guidelines to give a high priority to Afghan institution building. Unlike the warlords, Hamid Karzai and his ministries have received minimal resources for administrative expenses. Police, military officials, teachers and other government employees regularly are not paid their salaries. Corruption, inevitably, is rising.
An aggressive international assistance program led by USAID to provide large scale direct assistance to President Hamid Karzai's fledgling government would produce political and security benefits. The central government's control would expand into the regions. Strengthening the central government and its administrative arms in the provinces would also improve project implementation, accelerate demobilization of the warlord militias, and employ local Afghansthus moving money into the economy to stimulate economic growth.
USAID's halting performance in Afghanistan demonstrates a generic problem related to meeting the 21st century development challenges exemplified in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Bush Administration should set the stage for revamping USAID by appointing a high level commission to offer recommendations for reform. The next administration and Congress could utilize these recommendations to remake USAID into a U.S. Government institution better organized to carry out mandates from Executive Branch policy makers and from Congress. In the meantime, USAID regulations and protocols should be relaxed and simplified to speed up USAID's implementation of its programs worldwide, as well as in Afghanistan.
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It needs to be stressed that USAID's mixed performance in Afghanistan reflects the shortcomings of a bureaucratic system. In no way does this distract from the fine work by the talented, dedicated, hard working USAID managers and staff in Washington and the field.
LEVERAGING OTHER DONOR ASSISTANCE
A re-invigorated American reconstruction strategy in Afghanistan would inspire other donors to fulfill their previous pledges of assistance to Afghanistan. A more effective U.S. approach would leverage additional funding from governments reticent to invest more unless Afghanistan's reconstruction shows promise. Just as important, a better crafted and implemented American approach to Afghan reconstruction would draw the enthusiastic cooperation of Afghans still hopeful that the international community will help their country get back on its feet.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BONN AGREEMENT
The preliminary stages of the Bonn process were successfully carried out, concluding with the June, 2002, Loya Jirga election of President Hamid Karzai by secret ballot. The next major milestones in the Bonn process are a Loya Jirga this coming fall to choose a new Afghan Constitution, and countrywide elections in June, 2004. While the constitutional Loya Jirga may be held as planned, the Bonn process in general, including the 2004 elections, will face growing difficulties if security does not improve and the reconstruction process remains bogged down. As Lakhdar Brahimi, the senior United Nations official in Afghanistan warned May 7, ''support for the government and the Bonn process will erode dangerously'' if security does not improve in Afghanistan.
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Continuing implementation of the Bonn process will thus mainly depend on enhanced security accompanied by the successful extension of the Kabul government's authority into Afghanistan's regions. Well organized, fair, countrywide elections, for example, could not take place if feuding warlords still dominate Afghanistan's regions and the central government remains weak.
A second roadblock on the Bonn track is competition among Afghanistan's larger neighbors for geo-political position inside Afghanistan. One face of the Pakistani ISI, in coordination with Muslim extremist circles in Pakistan, continues to assist radical Afghan groups mounting attacks into Afghanistan from bases in Pakistan. Over half of the Taliban cabinet remains in Pakistan, and they are not just sipping tea.
Islamabad is quite obviously concerned about the rising involvement of India in Afghanistan, including the recent establishment of two Indian consulates near the Afghan-Pakistani border. While improving relations with India, the Afghan government should bear in mind Pakistan's long held fear of an Indian-orchestrated strategic vise pressing on Pakistan simultaneously from India in the east and Afghanistan in the west. Like Switzerland and Nepal, Afghan interests would be best served by balancing off its more powerful neighbors and by avoiding entangling alliances.
Iranian military and economic assistance to warlords near the Iranian-Afghan border mirror its machinations in eastern Iraq and raise suspicions about Tehran's rhetorical support for the Bonn process. The ruling clerics in Iran have an allergy to the Bonn agreement goals of democracy, tolerance, and rule of law. There are reports that Iranian Revolutionary Guard intelligence elements are organizing Shia opposition to the Karzai government in the central Hazarajat region.
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Iran, China, Pakistan and India are all building roads into Afghanistan's periphery. The roads will stimulate trade. They can also introduce disruptive foreign influence into Afghan border regions located far from Kabul.
Return of ''waiting in the wings'' externally stoked conflict within Afghanistan is perhaps the biggest threat to the Bonn process. A more robust American diplomacy in and around Afghanistan could moderate regional tensions and lessen the danger that Afghanistan will again become a cockpit for struggle among neighbors seeking advantage over one another.
EMPOWERING MODERATE AFGHANS
It is clear that only the Afghan moderates symbolized by President Hamid Karzai, Foreign Minister Abdullah and most of the Afghan cabinet have the desire and intention to implement the democratic Bonn roadmap. Ikhwani (Muslim Brotherhood) Afghan Islamists such as Hekmatyar, Sayyaf and Rabbani may now pay lip service to democracy and elections. Ideologically and politically, they would once more embrace the anti-Western, Al Queda brand of Muslim totalitarianism as soon as opportunity permits. If the current status quo persists, most warlords in the regions will attempt to fix election outcomes in their areas.
U.S. policy should therefore become much more decisive in building up the moderate Karzai regime. The emphasis must be on gradually strengthening the central government, and its reach into the regions through the center's economic, police and military presence in the provinces.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Empowering the Afghan moderates at the center should take precedence over removing destructive warlords by force, although that course might be necessary in some instances. Over time, however, the expanding power of the central government will elicit warlord cooperation and eventual submission. In the end, the era of warlord rule will fade, as an ever stronger central government assigns new governors and regional military leaders to the provinces.
Two important domestic Afghan factors would increase prospects for success of this strategy. One is the widespread opposition of the great majority of the Afghan people to both the warlords and the radical ''Jihadi'' politicians promoted by extremist Muslims in Pakistan and the Gulf countries. The second factor is the yearning among Afghans for peace and stability. If the Karzai Government, supported by a more effective U.S. Afghan policy, an expanded NATO peacekeeping presence, and a fresh reconstruction ''push'' shows itself capable of extending its authority to the regions, its popular support among the Afghan people will steadily grow. And that support would be the main determinant of success for the historic Afghan reconstruction process.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Tomsen. Mr. Rubin.
STATEMENT OF BARNETT R. RUBIN, PH.D., DIRECTOR OF STUDIES AND SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Mr. RUBIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. After your statement and the statement by Mr. Lantos, I am not sure exactly why you need the witnesses. And I commend them.
Before I go to my statement I wanted to mention something that was the subject of three telephone calls I received today from prominent Afghans. During President Karzai's current absence from the country on a state visit abroad, retrograde elements in the regime have arrested Mr. Hussein Mactaviv, a courageous newspaper editor, who has published an article critical of a number of extremist leaders in Afghanistan. I believe that when President Karzai returns, he will try to rectify this. But I hope that the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Government will give him every assistance in this regard. And I have supplied the text of his courageous article to the Afghan Embassy here, and can do so to the Committee if it wishes.
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Eighteen months after this victory, as my colleagues and as you have said, the remarkable efforts of the people and government of Afghanistan, of the U.S. Government, of the United Nations, and of many others will be headed for failure, unless the U.S. leads an initiative to bring greater security to Afghanistan outside Kabul, and assist the national government in reestablishing an administration. If you do not bring security to the provinces, the provinces will bring insecurity to Kabul. You cannot secure Afghanistan from the capital alone.
In such a case it will not be possible to implement the constitution that is to be enacted in October, or to hold the national elections, which are scheduled for June, 2004 under the Bonn Agreement.
Threats to security, as everyone thus far has said, come not only from the enemies of the government, such as Taliban, al-Qaeda, Bulbuddin Hikmatyar, but also, as we know, from those ostensibly part of the government, local commanders and those regional leaders called warlords. These commanders lead, though they do not always control, armed groups estimated at about 100,000 men. Restoring security will require both removing or integrating these leaders, and demobilizing these forces. These, in turn, require economic reconstruction to provide a tax base, and to absorb those who are demobilized.
Commanders all over Afghanistan, in interviews with me and others, say they will not disband these factional militias, essential for security, which is essential for elections and other reforms, as long as the Ministry of Defense is simply another factional army dominated by the military organization of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, based in the Panjsher Valley.
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In Afghanistan, however, only the Ministry of Defense has offered to provide security to the demobilization effort. Yet only the U.S., and particularly the Department of Defense, can exert the pressure and supply the incentives to assure reform of the Ministry of Defense, and provide an international security presence for the demobilization effort.
However, when Defense Minister Fahim visited Washington earlier this year, he received no clear message about Ministry of Defense reform, and the Pentagon still refuses to authorize U.S. forces in the field to participate in the demobilization effort.
As everyone has said, equally important is the extension of an international security presence to major regional centers. This Committee, the U.S. Congress, the Afghan Government, the U.N. have all recommended the expansion of the International Security Assistance Force outside of Kabul. The U.S. has attempted to substitute for that the provincial reconstruction teams, which could make a significant difference, but only if their mandate were shifted away from very small-scale rehabilitation efforts, and toward genuine security provision. These PRTs should also monitor and support the demobilization effort, and back up the central government in its efforts to collect taxes and extend its authority. And this is the major issue for the future of Afghanistan. Will it have a government?
Recently, President Karzai started a courageous and difficult initiative to subordinate the so-called warlords to the lawful authority of the national government as either military or civilian officials, and to transfer or remove them if they resist. As a result, the government has already collected tens of millions of dollars in customs revenue from the provinces.
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But the government has been hampered by the refusal of the United States to become in what are called green-on-green conflict among so-called friendly Afghans. It is one thing, Mr. Chairman, for the U.S. to refuse to take sides in factional struggles. But the national government of Afghanistan, attempting to exercise its lawful authority under the Bonn Agreement and the legal framework in force in Afghanistan, is not just another faction. It deserves the full commitment of the U.S. Government, and its full support.
These are transitional measures we are talking about. International security assistance is to assure the transition to Afghan security forces. The two are not in contradiction. It is vital to build the Afghan National Army. But Afghanistan does not need a large and powerful army involved in domestic security; indeed, it could be harmful. The U.S. military officers who are involved in training the Afghan National Army have said to me themselves that it is more effective and cheaper to invest money in the training of police.
Now that there is a new reformist Interior Minister, Ali Ahmed Jalali, who many of you know, I am sure, it is vital to do this. He is undertaking reform of that ministry, but with totally inadequate resources. He recently sent 150 newly-trained policemen to the northern city of Mazar-i Sharif to help implement an agreement on removing heavy weapons from that city. He is unable to pay their salaries. He has only $7 million in the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, and he estimates that the cost of Interior Ministry reform are $100 to $120 million.
If the government does manage to discipline its commanders or wrest power from them, it will need to provide the population with the economic revival it craves. As the Chairman said, the security deficit prevents the government from implementing reconstruction and from attracting private capital. I have distributed a chart here showing that 18 months into the so-called reconstruction effort, reconstruction projects costing only $200 million have been completed. We hear about money disbursement. Disbursement means that money is in accounts. Reconstruction projects completed are $200 million. Reconstruction projects begun, maybe just with setting up an office, are less than $1 billion.
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The Kabul-Kandahar highway project that President Bush announced at the White House with President Karzai last year is stalled for lack of security, and the Pentagon will not allow the 3,000 U.S. troops in Kandahar to protect the Japanese engineers who are supposed to start building the highway from Kandahar. And therefore, it has not started.
Only 16 percent of all the assistance provided to Afghanistan thus far has gone through channels that are under the control of the Afghan Government or Afghan authorities, and hence, we are not building up their legitimacy and capacity.
All of these are undermining people's hopes for and support of the government, and breeding cynicism about the U.S. On a recent visit to Kabul, Afghan intelligence officials told me that anger was so high that their previous orders not to interfere with protests had been reversed, for fear that demonstrations could easily lead to angry riots. In the southern part of the country, where the Taliban originated, the resurgence of the anarchy and deprivation that bred that movement in the first place is creating conditions hospitable to their revival. Yes, Taliban leaders enjoy sanctuary in neighboring areas of Pakistan, which must do more to end their military activities. But that is not the only reason for their revival. They breed on the failures of our effort.
Therefore, in brief, we must support extension of ISAF or expand the size and mandate of PRTs, authorize U.S. and coalition forces to support the efforts of the government to expand its authority, use all means available to support reform of the Ministry of Defense and for demobilization, support building national police through the trust fund, and follow the Congress's lead in launching an effort, and by other international donors as well, to meet the Afghan Government's goal of $15 billion in implemented reconstruction projects by the end of 2006.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Rubin follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BARNETT R. RUBIN, PH.D., DIRECTOR OF STUDIES AND SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER ON INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
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Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 87793aw.eps
Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you for this hearing and for the commitment and leadership you have shown on this issue, which I recall from the last time Ambassador Tomsen and I appeared before you, on November 7, 2001.
Eighteen months later, the remarkable efforts of the people and government of Afghanistan, of the US government, of the UN, and many others, will all be headed for failure unless the US quickly leads an initiative to bring greater security to Afghanistan outside Kabul and assist the national government in re-establishing an administration. As the UN Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi told the Security Council in May, ''The issue of security casts a long shadow over the whole peace process and indeed, over the whole future of Afghanistan.'' Without major improvements in security, combined with accelerated reconstruction efforts, it will not be possible to implement the constitution that is to be enacted by a Loya Jirga in October, or to hold national elections scheduled for June 2004. Both are key benchmarks of the Bonn Agreement, which forms the basis for the entire post-Taliban settlement in Afghanistan.
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Reasonable people may differ as to how to meet this challenge. What is most disturbing in the present administration, however, is its denial that the challenge exists. Secretary Rumsfeld announced during his visit to Kabul on May 1 that security was improving in Afghanistan, making it possible to contemplate the start of troop reductions in the coming year. Mr. Chairman, in a memorandum you shared with the witnesses here today, you succinctly and accurately stated, ''The goals of the United States in Afghanistan are to rebuild a viable and independent nation-state that is secure and free from terrorism.'' US personnel in Afghanistan, military and civilian, are working day and night to achieve these goals. But the administration is not backing them up with the resources and commitment they need to succeed.
Threats to security come not only from the enemies of the government, the Taliban, al-Qaida, and Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, bur also from those ostensibly part of the government, local commanders, including the major leaders called warlords. These commanders lead, though they do not always control, armed groups estimated at about 100,000 men, who often abuse the population, prey upon trade and travelers, and engage in various forms of trafficking. Restoring security will require either removing these leaders or integrating them into an accountable government structure and disbanding these armed groups in favor of accountable security forces. Both processes require the start of economic reconstruction in order to absorb the demobilized and provide the foundation of a tax base.
Commanders all over Afghanistan are tired, and many are ready to try another way of life, but nearly all say they will not disband their factional militias as long as the Ministry of Defense constitutes simply another factional army, dominated by the military organization of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, based in the Panjsher Valley. Furthermore, demobilization requires security measures. No such program has ever succeeded without international military observers. In Afghanistan, however, only the factionally dominated Ministry of Defense has offered to provide security to the DDR effort. Only the US, and in particular the Department of Defense, can exert the pressure, and provide the incentives, to assure reform of the Ministry of Defense and to provide an international security presence for the demobilization effort. Yet when Defense Minister Fahim visited Washington earlier in the year, he received no clear message about MoD reform, and the Pentagon still refuses to authorize US forces in the field to participate in the DDR effort.
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Equally key is the extension of an international security presence to major regional centers. The Afghan government, the UN, and the US Congress, among others, have expressed a preference for doing so by expanding the presence of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) beyond Kabul. Having opposed this effort, the US responded with an initiative from the field, the deployment of Provincial Reconstruction Teams. These teams could make a significant difference, but only if their mandate were shifted away from small-scale rehabilitation projects and toward genuine security provision. The UK plans to establish a PRT in Mazar-i Sharif along these lines, and we should watch closely how it fares. PRTs should monitor and support DDR and back up the central government in its efforts to collect taxes and extend its authority.
This is the major issue for the future of Afghanistan: will it have a government that can assure the security of the Afghans and therefore, as we have learned, of ourselves? Recently President Karzai launched a difficult initiative to subordinate so-called warlords to the lawful authority of the national government as either military or civilian officials, and to dismiss or transfer them if they resist. As a result, Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani has already collected tens of millions of dollars in missing customs revenue. The government has been hampered in part by its own at times irresolute decision making. It has also confronted the refusal of the US to become involved in so-called ''green on green'' conflict, among friendly Afghans. It is one thing, Mr. Chairman, for the US to refuse to take sides in factional struggles. It is another matter to treat the national government of Afghanistan attempting to exercise its lawful authority under the Bonn Agreement, as if it were just another faction. It deserves the full commitment of US support in that effort.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 These, of course, are transitional measures. International security assistance assures the transition to Afghan security forces. It is vital to build the Afghan National Army, as the US is doing with the help of France, but Afghanistan does not need a large and powerful army, and it certainly does not need such an army involved in domestic political issues. The US military officers involved in training the ANA say themselves that it is more effective and much cheaper to invest money in the training of police, especially now that the Ministry of the Interior is being reformed with German aid under the leadership if the new minister, Ali Ahmed Jalali. Yet the minister is undertaking this vital task with totally inadequate resources. He recently sent 150 newly trained police officers to the north to take over security in Mazar-i Sharif after militias removed heavy weapons, but he cannot pay them. He has only $7 million in the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, though he estimates his needs as over $100 million.
If the government does manage to discipline its commanders or wrest power from them, it will need to provide the population with the economic revival it desperately awaits. This means building an effective, though small administration to create conditions for private investment. The security deficit has a direct effect on the ability of the Afghan government to implement reconstruction projects and attract private capital. Estimates of Afghanistan's reconstruction needs range from 10 to 20 billion dollars over five years, through 2006. As shown in the chart I have distributed to this hearing, Afghan government statistics show that, eighteen months into the effort, less than $200 million worth of reconstruction projects have been completed. Not a single major project has been completed, and few have begun. The Kabul-Qandahar highway project that President Bush announced at the White House with President Karzai last October is stalled for lack of security, and the administration still refuses to use any of the 3,000 US troops based in Qandahar to protect the Japanese engineers who would build the road. Furthermore, only 16 percent of all assistance has gone through channels controlled by the Afghan authorities rather than international agencies, NGOs, or companies. I do not underestimate the obstacles to strengthening and funding the Afghan administration, but we cannot do so by bypassing and substituting for it with expensive consultants.
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Factional dominance of the central government, deteriorating security conditions, and near total failure to deliver the hoped-for benefits of reconstruction are undermining people's hopes for and support of the government and breeding cynicism about the US. Afghan intelligence officials told me that anger was so high their orders not to interfere with protest had been reversed, for fear that demonstrations could lead to riots. Most important, especially in the southern part of the country, where the Taliban originated, the resurgence of the anarchy and deprivation that bred that movement is creating conditions hospitable to their revival. Taliban leaders enjoy sanctuary in border areas of Pakistan, which must do much more to end their military activities, but we would be deluding ourselves to think that the source of their revival is only foreign support. They breed on the failures of our effort. In brief, US policy should be modified as follows:
Support expansion of ISAF to major regional centers, or expand the size and mandate of PRTs for provision of security, including for DDR.
Authorize US and coalition forces in Afghanistan to provide support to efforts by the government to implement its legal authority including naming personnel, collecting taxes, and demobilizing militias.
Use all means available to support genuine reform of the Ministry of Defense, a precondition for both building the ANA and demobilization.
Increase support for building a national police force through contributions to LOTFA.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Follow the lead of the US Congress by launching an effort by international donors to meet the Afghan government's goal of $15 billion in implemented reconstruction projects by the end of 2006, with emphasis on building Afghan capacity and a gradual but significant increase in funding through Afghan government channels.
Mr. Chairman, I know that much of the US efforts have been devoted to building democratic institutions, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including women's rights in Afghanistan. These goals are essential, and most Afghans support them. But these goals cannot be realized without provisions for security and basic livelihoods. And as we learned on September 11, when Afghanistan is insecure, so is the United States of America. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
S.O.S. FROM AFGHANISTAN
BY AHMED RASHID AND BARNETT R. RUBIN
America's strategy for stabilizing and reconstructing Afghanistan was heading for failure last week, when a bold new move by the Afghan government gave the U.S. what may be its last chance for success. It is a crucial moment: A failure to provide Afghans with security will push that country back to the state of anarchy that gave rise to the Taliban and allowed al Qaeda to base itself there.
As the U.S. seemed unable or unwilling to deal with a deteriorating security situation, last week President Hamid Karzai took the initiative. He acted to bring regional commanders under his control and has promised to resign if he fails. He summoned them to Kabul, where they agreed to remit taxes to the government and act as officials, not warlords. Now, Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani is sending commissions to the provinces to enforce the agreement. He says he will plant himself in the western city of Herat until the most powerful regional figure, Ismail Khan, submits to these rules.
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This initiative answers demands for a legal government voiced by thousands of Afghans, who are drafting a constitution, preparing for elections, training for a new army and police force, teaching, rebuilding homes, tilling fields, clearing mines and sacrificing their lives in the fight against extremists. Yet in recent angry demonstrations many of these same Afghans poured out their bitterness at how few concrete results these efforts have produced.
This is not the assessment only of the ''armchair columnists'' to whom Donald Rumsfeld referred while on his May 1 visit to Afghanistan. It is a consensus that emerges from officials of the U.N., the EU, other U.S. allies, aid agencies, U.S. officials in the field, and Afghans loyal to Mr. Karzai. The differences between Washington's depiction and that of others is stark. On his way to Afghanistan, Mr. Rumsfeld announced, ''The bulk of Afghanistan is permissive and secure.'' On May 6, however, U.N. Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi told the Security Council that ''the issue of security casts a long shadow over the whole peace process and indeed, over the whole future of Afghanistan.'' Appealing for the deployment of international troops outside Kabul, he added, ''the rest of the country must experience increased security lest support for the government and the Bonn process erode dangerously.'' The 5,000-strong International SecurityAssistance Force (ISAF) has no mandate to deploy outside the capital.
The enemies of the government are activenot mere ''remnants.'' Daily, the regrouped Taliban rocket or ambush U.S. and Afghan forces in the south and east, where reconstruction (barely begun) is grinding to a halt. The Taliban are not the only source of disruption. The depredations of those within the governmentthe ''warlords''block assistance and alienate the public. More than 2,000 people have died in factional fighting since the defeat of the Taliban in December 2001. Kabul itself is factionalized. Two ministers were murdered in 2002, one by knownbut untouchableassassins from the dominant Northern Alliance faction. The Afghan forces in the city are mostly recruited from that group, based in the Panjshir Valley. Defense Minister Muhammad Fahim, their commander, continues to defy the Bonn Agreemet, which requires him to withdraw forces from Kabul.
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If the U.S. is serious about stabilization it will have to take on spoilers within the government, including some of those the U.S. armed to fight the Taliban/al Qaeda. A rebuilding of the army and police has to start with breaking the monopoly of Mr. Fahim's faction on the ministry of defense. Next, only an augmented international security presence in regional centers, plus targeted reconstruction aid that provides incentives for demobilization will bridge the security gap.
The U.S. continues to resist ISAF expansion, and others will not offer troops without U.S. leadership. Without security, reconstruction and political progress languish. Afghans complain they see almost no results of the billions pledged. Even when money trickles in, there is inadequate security to carry out tasks. During a September 2002 summit with Mr. Karzai, President Bush announced a showcase projectthe rebuilding of the highway between Kabul and Kandahar. Though the U.S. heavily lobbied Tokyo to contribute and start work from Kandahar, Japanese officials claim that the Pentagon refused to deploy any of the 3,000 U.S. troops there to protect Japanese engineers. Hence after eight months, work has not begun in Kandahar.
Critical political projects are to start in June: a $50-million campaign to demobilize 100,000 militia fighters; and a countrywide consultation on a new constitution. Yet without demobilization, writing the constitution is likely to prove a meaningless exercise in drawing up a document that cannot be implemented. As long as commanders can threaten people, Afghans will not be free to debate and institutions will not be able to function. Elections, required in June 2004 by the Bonn agreement, would turn into an exercise in competitive intimidation.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Fighters will not hand over weapons to the current ministry of defense. As one commander from eastern Afghanistan said, ''Only when there is a demobilization process implemented by international forces in collaboration with the Afghan National Army will Afghans support it. We hate war, we hate guns, but only then will we surrender our weapons.'' While U.S. commanders in the field have helped negotiate the demobilization plan, the Pentagon has declined to help implement it. Mr. Brahimi told the Security Council that demobilization could not start without full reform of the ministry of defense. Yet President Karzai's aides were dismayed that during a visit to Washington earlier this year, U.S. officials failed to pressure Mr. Fahim over the continued control of the military and the intelligence service by his small faction.
People in Iraq and elsewhere are watching to see if the U.S. is committed not only to defeating regimes it sees as threats, but to providing security and governance to the long-suffering peoples of those countries. They will draw their conclusions according to the results.
Mr. Rashid, a correspondent of the Far Eastern Economic Review, is the author of ''Jihad'' (Yale, 2002). Mr. Rubin, the author of ''The Fragmentation of Afghanistan'' (Yale, 2002), is director of studies at the Center on International Cooperation, at NYU..
Updated May 29, 2003
Chairman HYDE. Thank you. Mr. Bernard Frahi.
STATEMENT OF BERNARD FRAHI, CHIEF, OPERATIONS BRANCH, DIVISION FOR OPERATIONS AND ANALYSIS, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR DRUG CONTROL AND CRIME PREVENTION
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Mr. FRAHI. Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Committee, I would like to thank you for providing the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and the opportunity to speak about general issues surrounding opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.
We have been witness, over the last 18 months following the swearing-in of the new Afghan administration, of the very deep nature of opium poppy cultivation, particularly rooted in the Afghan society and in the rural behavior of farmers in traditional poppy-growing areas.
I submitted with my recent testimony the executive summary of a study carried out by UNODC on the opium economy in Afghanistan. I would be pleased to leave for your records a full book of this study.
Let's begin from the facts. As you are aware, in 2002 poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 74,000 hectares, resulting in the production of 3,400 metric tons of opium. In 2003 the picture sounds rather bleak.
According to our pre-assessment survey carried out in February, opium cultivation appears to have spread to new areas, while a decrease seems to have taken place in traditional provinces of Helmand, Nangarhar, and Qandahar. Therefore, on balance, neither the area under cultivation nor the volume of output are likely to change significantly this year.
To understand the complexity to rid Afghanistan of its dependence on illegal activities, starting from opium, two factors needs to be underlined. First, an economic factor. Opium prices, which used to be at $50 a kilo, have recently shot up to $550.
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Chairman HYDE. We have two votes pending. I am reluctant to interrupt your statement. If you will indulge us while we scurry over to the Floor and do our duty, we will hurry back. And then we can pick it up where I interrupted you. All right? Fine.
We will stand in recess for 15 minutes.
Chairman HYDE. The Committee will come to order. When last we met, Mr. Frahi was giving us an opening statement. And if you can pick up where we rudely interrupted you, that would be fine. Mr. Frahi.
Mr. FRAHI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I depicted earlier the rather stern forecast this year for poppy cultivation in Afghanistan. And I was saying that to understand the complexity to rid Afghanistan of its dependence on illegal activities, starting from opium, two factors need to be underlined.
One is the economic factor. Opium prices, which used to be at $50 a kilo, have recently shot up to $550 a kilo. At farm price, the income generated from this production reached, in 2002, $1.2 billion, an amount that matches the total assistance provided last year by the international community. You may be interested to know that compared to the price of wheat, opium is more profitable. One hectare of opium, which provides about 50 kilos, will generate an income today of $27,000, whereas one hectare of wheat will offer only $800, about 30 times less.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Second, security and political factors. The task to rid Afghanistan of the drug economy requires much greater security than presently available. Reestablishing the rule of law and the judiciary in particular is a most important area for long-term stability.
The elimination of poppy cultivation requires enabling environment to establish the institutions needed for formal governance in civilized society, as well as to promote on-farm and off-farm income opportunities. And experience with successful elimination of opium poppy cultivation in other countries such as Pakistan demonstrate that eliminating poppy cultivation requires substantial commitment to long-term development in poverty-reduction strategies. Pakistan was declared poppy-free in 2000, after 15 years of assistance.
Given the scale of the problem, there can be no quick fix to eliminating opium production in Afghanistan. In this context, the national drug control strategy adopted last month by the transitional government of Afghanistan is extremely realistic. It forces the elimination of opium within 10 years through law enforcement and rural development. The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime current program is amounting to about $25 million, and has been developed and is being implemented to complement with national strategy. I will not elaborate. An annex has been forwarded, attached to my recent testimony.
However, in conclusion, I would like, with your permission, Mr. Chairman, to introduce suggestions for an effective opium poppy elimination strategy. Three leading points.
One, there must be more leadership. The commitment from the President of the transitional government is crucial and necessary, particularly at the time of setting up central institutions. But it is not sufficient in the present Afghanistan state triggered by a strong tribal culture.
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Poppy cultivation takes place for 90 percent of its extent in Pashtun areas, where prevails the Pashtun tribal courts. Experience proves that we need to engage with tribal communities, meet their elders at village or district level, and secure a surer commitment for poppy elimination with support of the religious leaders. The tribal and religious factor is of extreme importance, and cannot be ignored, particularly in this phase of political transition.
Second point. There must be alternatives to assist the farmers and accompany our decision for poppy eradication or long-term elimination. Assistance is to be provided in poppy areas, as well as in non-poppy areas. We need to reward those doing the right things voluntarily, if we don't want to see further poppy displacement to new areas, as it is the case this year. But we need to accompany law enforcement with rural rehabilitation programs. This can only be achieved if the Ministry of Finance agrees to devote resources to large-scale rural rehabilitation programs, and if international financial institutions balance rural donors' general resources accordingly.
Speaking about alternatives, I would like to inject a word of caution in poppy areas. Development agencies should move away from project activities that can have a direct facilitative effect on poppy cultivation, such as irrigation systems and fertilizers, in the absence of conditional agreement with Shiraz for poppy elimination.
Three, there must be effective law enforcement within a context of good governance and security. We need to break the trafficking chain existing between poppy areas and borders. This would include two points, and then we conclude.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 One, more vigorous action against traffickers who buy opium in poppy areas, and transport this opium to processing laboratories or to border points. It is astonishing to observe that only 450 kilos of opium were seized in Afghanistan since January, 2003, when 3,400 tons were produced last year. In the same vein, only 97 kilos of heroin were seized in the beginning of the year in Afghanistan, while in 2002 Pakistan alone seized more than 9,000 kilos of heroin.
There is, second, a need to stimulate real operational interventions in Afghanistan against stockpiles and processing laboratories. Often there is the patronage of former commanders and warlords. Some are identified in Helmand provinces, and drug law enforcement could take place.
Finally, drug law enforcement requires international cooperation. One could further explore joint operations between drug law enforcement agencies from Afghanistan and Pakistan along their common borders, Afghanistan and Iran, Afghanistan, Takministan, and Tajikistan, with a view to dismantle all criminal organizations.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Frahi follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF BERNARD FRAHI, CHIEF, OPERATIONS BRANCH, DIVISION FOR OPERATIONS AND ANALYSIS, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE FOR DRUG CONTROL AND CRIME PREVENTION
DRUG THREAT ORIGINATING IN AFGHANISTAN
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Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for providing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) an opportunity to speak about general issues surrounding opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.
The problem of Afghan narcotics (opium, heroin and morphine) is serious. As a premise, I would like to stress three points:
1. During the past quarter century Afghanistan has found itself at the crossroad of violence and, as a consequence, of illegal activity. War and lawlessness have been the forces that have driven opium production to present levels, and not the other way around.
2. Afghanistan now faces a historic challenge: the establishment of an effective rule of law. The Government's commitment to controlling cultivation, trade and abuse of narcotics can be turned into real progress only if stability and security spread throughout the country.
3. Reference is frequently made to Afghanistan's drug problem. This needs a qualification: it is not true that the whole country is involved in illegal activity. Less than 1% of its land is cultivated for opium poppies, and no more than 6% of families derive the resulting illicit livelihood. Also note that only 5 of the country's 31 provinces produce opium on a large scale.
The Afghan Transitional Administration is gradually rebuilding the country's government. National policies, consistent with the emerging democracy, are being developed. The generous support by the international community, particularly by the nations that have taken the lead in different sectors of the government administration is indispensable for further consolidation. The generous support extended by the US Administration to the counter-narcotics work in Afghanistan is worth mentioning at this early stage.
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While the opium economy undermines current institution-building efforts, the argument could be turned around: namely, the slow progress in the re-establishment of the rule of law is hurting the authority's ability to reduce the drug economy. It is a vicious circle of sorts.
Let's begin from the facts: the Crop Survey 200203
In 2002, poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 74,000 hectares, resulting in 3,400 tons of output from 5 provinces in the northern, eastern and southern parts of the country.
What about 2003? According to our pre-assessment survey carried out in February in 134 districts in 22 provinces, current opium cultivation appears to have spread to new areas, while a decrease has taken place in the traditional provinces of Helmand, Qandahar, Nangarhar and Oruzgan. Therefore, on balance, neither the area under cultivation nor the volume of output are likely to change significantly. Our 2003 opium poppy survey, which combines ground level and remote sensing activities, is underway and should be finished in August. It provides quantitative estimates as well as detailed mapping of the geographical distribution and intensity of opium poppy cultivation and opium production during the year. The report is published in September.
The Afghan Economy: the way out of illegality
Despite current efforts by the Transitional Administration, in the coming years Afghanistan will continue to be the world largest opium producer (at a time when in the Golden Triangle such cultivation is declining).
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This projection is based on a simple consideration: over the past 20 years the Afghan agriculture, actually the country's entire infrastructure was destructed, resulting in a war economy in which arms, drugs, smuggling and opium provided livelihood, saving, credit, and the means of exchange for almost 20% of GDP.
In order to rid Afghanistan of its dependence on illegal activities, starting from opium, it is necessary to create ample and easily accessible opportunities for alternative, licit sources of income. This task, however, is rendered complicated by economic and political (security) factorsinterrelated as they are. Let's look at them.
First, the economic factors. On the surface of it, the country seems to defy a basic law of economics, according to which price and risk trends are correlated. Opium prices, which used to be at about $3550/kg, have recently shot up to about $550600/kg. In macro-economic terms, while the value of the opium harvest in 1990s was about $150 million a year, in 2002 such revenue reached $1.2 billion. (an amount that matches the total assistance provided last year by the international community).
In order to understand how important it is to redress the risk/reward balance in the Afghan country-side, another point needs to be stressedthis one regarding the security and the political factors. The task to rid Afghanistan of the drug economy requires much greater political, security and financial capital than presently available, to assist the rural areas affected by opium production and, above all, to improve the central government's ability to implement the opium production ban.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The threat to stability
Drugs originating in Afghanistan provide resources to crime and terrorism, and pose a major health threat. They ruin the life of entire communities. They corrupt. Let's take these points one at a time.
The drug dealers, among them the remnants of the Taliban, have a vested interest in ensuring that the state remains weak in Afghanistan. They ensure further flourishing of the drug economy with huge profits, recycled in violence and death. In pursuing this goal, they influence politics, foment regional strife, nourish separatist ambitions and armed conflicts to destabilize the government and challenge the national unity.
Corruption is both a cause and a consequence of narco-traffic. The UNODC Office has extensively studied drug trafficking routes in the region: a common element among them is the presence of corrupted government officials, corrupted port and airport staff, and corrupted customs employees. The old Silk Road, now turned into an opium-paved road, is riddled with such evidence.
Perhaps the most serious threat has come from the spreading of HIV/AIDS because of drug injections. In some of the countries neighbouring Afghanistan, 4 out of 5 new cases of the blood infection have been determined by drug addiction. Unless the problem is brought under control, the risk of a pandemic in the region cannot be excluded.
Finally, the massive drug traffic from Afghanistan endangers the economic and social stability in the countries located along the trafficking routes, fuelling crime, money laundering and terrorist activities. Unless we reinforce our efforts to strengthen the criminal justice system in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries the crime threat to stability will persist.
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Sustainable rural livelihood for poverty reduction and opium poppy elimination
There is a need to recognise that social and political stability, as well as wider economic growth, are essential preconditions for eliminating opium poppy cultivation on a sustainable basis in Afghanistan. The elimination of poppy cultivation requires an ''enabling environment'' to establish the institutions needed for formal governance and civil society, as well as promote licit on-farm and off-farm income opportunities.
Poppy growing is the symptom not the cause of poverty. Indeed it should not be seen just as an agricultural problem requiring agricultural solutions but as a multi-faceted economic and social problem requiring a wide-ranging approach. Opium production in Afghanistan is different from other large-scale producing areas around the world. In most places, opium is a low-yielding crop produced on marginal land. However in the major growing areas of Afghanistan, poppy production has become a mainstream crop produced on good land as an integral part of the major production system.
Experience with successful elimination of opium poppy cultivation in other countries demonstrate that eliminating poppy cultivation requires substantial commitment to long-term development and poverty reduction strategies. Given the scale of the problem, the number of people involved, and the intense economic pressure that drives the whole system, there can be no quick fix to eliminating opium production in Afghanistan. It is essential that efforts to improve rural livelihoods are part of broad-based economic and social development. Furthermore, poppy growing areas (Helmand, Nangarhar, Qandahar, Oruzgan and Badakshan provinces) should be given priority for domestic budgetary allocation and for international assistance.
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A New Partnership
The Transitional Islamic Government of Afghanistan adopted its first National Drug Control Strategy last month. It foresees the elimination of opium within 10 years through law enforcement and rural development. It also aims to counter domestic processing and trafficking, to fight money laundering, reduce abuse and enhance international cooperation in drug control.
The Afghan drug economy can be reconverted to peace and growth if the government is assisted to address the roots of the matter. A report, entitled The Opium Economy in Afghanistan, recently prepared by our Office (see Annex 1: executive summary) has exposed these roots. First, the report has de-constructed Afghanistan's drug economy into its main components: production, financing, trafficking, refining and abuse. Second, the report has re-constructed the country's development processes piece by piece, showing that it is essential (i) to help poor farmers decide in favour of licit crops; (ii) to replace local narco-usurers with micro-lending; (iii) to provide jobs and education to women and their children; (iv) to turn bazaars into modern trading places; and (v) to neutralize warlords' efforts to keep the drug trade alive.
As said earlier, national efforts are not enough. Afghanistan's opium cultivation, trafficking and abuse have ramifications that reach deeply into the country's (and Central Asia's) recent history, and widely into contemporary geo-politics of terrorism and violence. Hence convergent efforts by neighbouring countries (through which narcotics are exported), and by Europe and Russia (where heroin abuse helps nourish opium cultivation in Afghanistan), are needed.
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Since the beginning of 2002 UNODC has been delivering its assistance in Afghanistan in five strategic sectors:
1. Policy support, legislation and advocacy;
2. Drug law enforcement;
3. Mainstreaming drug control in development assistance;
4. Drug demand reduction;
5. Monitoring and assessment.
The programme breakdown is reflected in Annex 2.
Furthermore, this programme doesn't preclude the assistance provided bilaterally by international development agencies with the aim to improve rural rehabilitation in particular in opium poppy areas. All efforts are therefore made to ensure that through consistent coordination stand alone development projects will also have an impact on poppy elimination.
In the current context, the fight against opium production and trafficking originating in Afghanistan should be sustained. The international community should remain committed to develop, under the UN auspices, a comprehensive approach aimed at:
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assisting Afghanistan to implement its Drug Control Strategy;
promoting in Afghanistan as well as in neighbouring countries concerted measures against drug trafficking, stock-piles, clandestine laboratories and supply of precursors;
mainstreaming the drug issue into the overall reconstruction programmes for Afghanistan, inviting International Financial Institutions, and bilateral donors to channel resources accordingly;
promoting alternative development in the opium growing areas, through partnership with the specialized United Nations agencies;
assisting Afghanistan in their criminal justice reform efforts.
UNODC will contribute to the largest possible extent, stretching our work beyond Afghanistan's own borders. While the demand for opiates is rising inside Afghanistan and in the neighbouring countries, the main lucrative market for Afghan heroin remains Europe, where demand reduction efforts should be intensified. It would make a significant impact on the Afghan drug threat.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much. Mr. Goodson.
STATEMENT OF LARRY P. GOODSON, PH.D., PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EAST STUDIES, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND STRATEGY, UNITED STATES ARMY WAR COLLEGE
Mr. GOODSON. Thank you. I wish to begin by thanking you, Mr. Chairman, and Ranking Member Lantos, for your excellent opening statements, which I largely echo; and for the invitation to discuss United States policy in Afghanistan.
I am obliged to note that my views are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army, the U.S. Army War College, or any other agency of the U.S. Government, which will probably be quickly apparent.
In your invitation, I was asked to peer into my crystal ball and project where Afghanistan will be in a year or two if present trends continue. Basically, the picture is dismal, as we have already heard today.
If Afghanistan continues on its present course, the following will most likely occur. On the political front, a new constitution will be approved this fall by a Loya Jirga controlled by pro-government delegates. In an election scheduled for June, 2004, Hamid Karzai will be reelected as President, and a legislature will be elected that will have few powers. Once these processes, however artificial they may be, are completed, the U.S. will begin drawing down its forces in Afghanistan on the grounds that the Bonn Accord's process of political transition to a ''democracy'' will have been completed. The government we have now will not have changed much; however, with northern minority leaders still in control, and southern and eastern Pashtuns increasingly restive over their marginalization. Thus, the government in Kabul will be set up with strong presidential powers, but the reality on the ground will make that government extremely weak.
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That weakness is exacerbated by growing security concerns. Neighboring countries continue to meddle in Afghan politics on multiple levels, thus bolstering the ability of Afghanistan's regional commanders and sub-commanders to behave autonomously in relation to Kabul. Warlord politics will contribute to a deteriorating security situation outside of Kabul, as they jockey for position, foster criminal activity, and marshall their forces against future challenges.
Security is also threatened by the frustrations of the Pashtuns, some of whom are turning to anti-regime elements, such as the neo-Taliban and al-Qaeda remnants, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami, and quasi-independent commanders. A security gap exists and will worsen, because the Afghan National Army and security forces have too few men. Defense Minister Fahim Khan continues to behave like a warlord, the International Security Assistance Force remains limited to Kabul, and the U.S.-led coalition forces are largely confined to two bases. The U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Teams are inadequate to fill this gap, even if all eight were deployed. Continued operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban forces further complicate the security situation, delaying any American attempt to transition fully to peace operations.
The future for Afghanistan where reconstruction is concerned will be, at best, partial success in reestablishing infrastructure, especially in the larger towns and cities and a portion of the ring road. Aid money for Afghanistan is already inadequate compared to other recent post-conflict reconstruction cases, when measured on a per-capita basis, and is also lagging well behind what is scheduled for Iraq, despite Afghanistan having a larger population and much more extensive needs than Iraq. Given the current focus on Iraq, it is probable that donor fatigue will set in very quickly in Afghanistan's case, such that the large and sustained commitment required of the United States and international community will not be maintained.
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Thus, Afghanistan is not likely to recover from its state failure based on current trends. It will still be plagued by flawed government, poor security, a weak economy, and meddlesome neighbors. Afghanistan's state failure made possible the flourishing of militant Islam and al-Qaeda's attacks of September 11, 2001. As a failed state, Afghanistan continues to pose a serious security threat to the United States, and thus it is critical to not let Afghanistan continue on this path.
In order to change the course Afghanistan is on, in my statement I offer four sets of recommendations for changes to American policy. In the interest of time I will mention only one recommendation from each area now.
First, closing the security gap is critical, which requires the consideration of seven important measures. One of these, already discussed, is to deploy additional American troops to provide security on the roads, and allow road-building to go forward.
A second concern is the political process. I mention in my statement at least five changes that deserve consideration, one of which is to modify the broad-based centralized government concept, either through a consociational arrangement where power-sharing is governed by a clear formula, or through adoption of a Federal system of governance that acknowledges warlord dominance within fixed territory, but in return grants them responsibilities and imposes constraints on their actionsif you will, de-warlordization.
To elaborate momentarily on this point, there is a serious mismatch between the current goal of the Karzai government, the United States, and the international community, which desires strong central government and the commitment of the United States and international community to make that goal realizable. If effective central government is therefore impossible, we should consider modifications to this model, such as a Federal approach.
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A third area of concern is reconstruction. Of four recommendations, one is to increase American aid to at least $1 billion per year for the next 5 years, structure that aid flow through the Kabul government in order to strengthen it in relation to the power of Afghanistan's regional commanders, and focus the aid on critical major infrastructure, most importantly, the Kabul-Kandahar road rebuilding.
Finally, I would offer two recommendations that transcend Afghanistan to also include Iraq and other places where U.S. policy may push for regime change and societal transformation. Strategic victory in the war against terrorism can only be achieved through the competent and coherent wielding of all elements of national power: Diplomatic, economic, informational, military, and political. Thus, U.S. policy-makers should develop a nation-building component within our Federal Government either as a separate institution or within the U.S. Army, which is the largest repository of existing nation-building skills such as engineering, medicine, civil affairs, and security within the Federal Government. If this is done within the U.S. Army, significant changes to doctrine, force structure, training, and procurement will need to occur within the framework of the existing transformation that is already underway.
Mr. Chairman, Afghanistan must not be allowed to slip back into an age of perverted Islam, medieval misogyny, or become again an anarchic narco-terror-filled state. If this happens, the U.S. will have won the war there and lost the peace, and we will be no more secure than we were on September 11, 2001. The average person in Afghanistan wants good governance, reconstruction, and security, and they are looking to the United States to bring these things about. We can, if we only will.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Goodson follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF LARRY P. GOODSON, PH.D., PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EAST STUDIES, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND STRATEGY, UNITED STATES ARMY WAR COLLEGE
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army, the US Army War College, or any other agency of the US government.
Chairman Hyde, Ranking Member Lantos, members of the Committee, it is a pleasure to appear before you today at this hearing to discuss United States policy in Afghanistan. In your invitation I was asked to give my best projection of Afghanistan's possible future, based on an assessment of its current political situation, including the deteriorating security situation and moribund reconstruction. I will do so and in addition offer four sets of policy recommendations.
If Afghanistan continues on its present course, the following will most likely occur. First, a new constitution derived from the 1964 Constitution will be approved by a Loya Jirga controlled by pro-government delegates. In subsequent elections scheduled for June 2004 Hamid Karzai will be reelected as President and a legislature will be elected that will have few powers. Once these processes, however artificial, are completed, the US will begin drawing down its forces in Afghanistan, on the grounds that the Bonn Accords process of political transition to a ''democracy'' will have been completed. The government will not have changed much, however, with Shura-yi Nazar and other northern minority leaders still in control, and southern and eastern Pushtuns increasingly restive over their marginalization. Thus, the government in Kabul will be set up with strong Presidential powers, but the reality on the ground will make that government extremely weak, leaving Karzai as little more than the ''mayor of Kabul.''
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Regional actors in neighboring countries on multiple levels (state, sub-state, sub-sub-state, and non-state) will continue to meddle in Afghan politics in pursuit of their own narrow-minded and short-sighted interests, thus bolstering the ability of Afghanistan's regional commanders and sub-commanders (warlords) to behave autonomously in relation to Kabul. Warlord politics will contribute to a deteriorating security situation outside of Kabul as they jockey for position (Abdur Rashid Dostum v. Mohammed Atta in the north), foster criminal activity (including both highway robbery and the opium traffic), and marshal their forces against future challenges (Ismail Khan in Herat). Security is also threatened by the frustrations of the Pushtuns, some of whom are turning to anti-regime elements such as the Taliban and al-Qa'ida remnants, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami, and quaai-independent commanders such as Padhshah Khan and Hazrat Ali. A ''security gap'' exists and will worsen because the Afghan National Army (ANA) and security forces have too few men (only 5000 at the moment), Defense Minister Fahim Khan continues to behave like a warlord, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is limited to Kabul, and the US-led coalition forces are largely confined to two bases, at Bagram and Kandahar. The US Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are inadequate to fill the task, even if all eight were deployed. Continued operations against al-Qa'ida and Taliban forces (Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and senior members of their organizations are still unaccounted for) further complicate the security situation, delaying any American attempt to transition fully to peace operations.
To the general public as well as the average Afghan, the slow pace of reconstruction is hard to understand. Explanations like limited Afghan capacity, inadequate security, an initial focus on refugee relief and resettlement, and funding cycle realities may all be valid, but they still reflect a failure of the international community to do the one thing that would most stabilize Afghanistanrebuild it, rapidly, publicly, and generously. US uncertainties about what is commonly referred to as nation-building (although state-building may be a better term) are causing us to lose the peace in Afghanistan and may play out in a similar way in Iraq. Based on current trends, the future for Afghanistan where reconstruction is concerned will be at best partial success in reestablishing infrastructure, especially in the larger towns and cities and a portion of the Ring Road. Aid money for Afghanistan is already inadequate compared to other recent post-conflict reconstruction cases, when measured on a per capita basis, and is also lagging well behind what is scheduled for Iraq despite Afghanistan having a larger population and much more extensive needs than Iraq. Given the current focus on Iraq, it is probable that donor fatigue will set in very quickly in Afghanistan's case, such that the large and sustained commitment required of the US and international community will not be maintained. Numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in aid work in Afghanistan will continue on, but the kind of rebuilding that needs to occur can only happen with committed US leadership.
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Thus, Afghanistan is not likely to recover from its state failure based on current trends. It will still be plagued by flawed government, poor security, a weak economy, and meddlesome neighbors. Afghanistan's state failure made possible the flourishing of militant Islam and al-Qa'ida's attacks of September 11, 2001. As a failed state, Afghanistan continues to pose a serious security threat to the United States, and thus it is critical to not let Afghanistan continue on this path. Moreover, stabilizing Afghanistan will have a positive effect on the surrounding countries and will demonstrate to the Islamic world that the US can be a force for good and that they can trust in American leadership. Only through successful nation-building can the US achieve strategic victory (as compared to temporary military victory) in the war against militant Islam.
In order to change the course Afghanistan is on, I offer the following recommendations for changes to American policy. First, closing the security gap is critical, which requires the rapid adoption of multiple measures:
deploy the remaining PRTs by the end of the summer;
deploy additional troops to provide security on the roads;
maintain sufficient air assets to meet ground support and airlift needs;
join ISAF and expand its size and mandate;
support an aggressive disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) program aimed at the warlord-led militias;
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dramatically increase the pace of ANA mobilization and Ministry of Defense reform;
maintain a military and intelligence focus on capturing key al-Qa'ida and Taliban leaders.
A second concern is the political process. The following changes deserve consideration, but will be difficult to bring about without significant American political will:
delay the constitutional Loya Jirga until the country is secure enough to allow an open process of public consultation, at the earliest in 2004;
also delay the planned June 2004 elections to allow time for a census, districting, training of an electoral staff, and the development of political parties;
foster the development of moderate linkage institutionsa free press, political parties, interest groups, civil society organizationsthat can begin training a post-war generation of political leaders;
encourage the major regional actorsIran, Pakistan, and Russiato refrain from deleterious interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs;
modify the broad-based centralized government concept, either through a Lebanese-Swiss type of arrangement where power-sharing is governed by a clear formula, or through adoption of a federal system of governance that acknowledges warlord dominance within fixed territory but in return grants them responsibilities and imposes constraints on their actions (''dewarlordization'').
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Allow me to elaborate a bit on this last point. There is a serious mismatch between the current goal of the Karzai government, United States, and international communitystrong central governanceand the commitment of the United States and international community to make that goal realizable. Therefore, current conditions, if unaddressed, may make effective central government impossible, thus requiring us to consider modifications to the central government model, including a federal or confederal approach.
A third area of concern is reconstruction. The US priority in this area is simple and singular:
provide at least $1 billion per year to the Kabul government over the five years for reconstruction and capacity-building;
push the international community and UN to make similar commitments to Afghanistan;
structure the aid flow through the Kabul government, which will strengthen it in relation to the power of Afghanistan's regional commanders;
engage in critical major infrastructure tasks with alacrity, beginning with the Kabul-Kandahar road rebuilding, giving rapid completion of such projects top priority.
Finally, I would offer some recommendations that transcend Afghanistan to also include Iraq and other places where US policy may push for regime change and societal transformation. Strategic victory in the war against terrorism can only be achieved through the competent and coherent wielding of all elements of national power-diplomatic, economic, informational, military, and political. US policy toward Afghanistan was fundamentally flawed from the moment the Twin Towers were struck. We geared up a rapid military response, perhaps made necessary by intelligence data showing an impending second strike by al-Qa'ida, but we did not gear up similarly in the other areas of national power. Thus, the inevitable happened. Our extraordinarily professional military quickly toppled the Taliban and dispersed al-Qa'ida, while the other pillars of Afghanistan's reconstruction struggled to get off the ground. As nature abhors a vacuum, local powers quickly moved in, creating the complex and problematic situation we face today. Two general recommendations thus close my statement today:
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US policymakers should be required to develop a strategy that shows what the end-state we wish to achieve in Afghanistan is, and that maps out how to get there, how much it will cost, and how long it will take;
We should develop a nation-building component in our federal government, either as a separate institution or within the US Army, which is the largest repository of existing nation-building skills (engineering, medical, civil affairs, and security) within the federal government. If it is done within the US Army, significant changes to doctrine, force structure, training, and procurement will need to occur within the framework of the existing transformation that is already underway.
Afghanistan must not be allowed to slip back into an age of perverted Islam, medieval misogyny, or become again an anarchic narco-terror failed state. If this happens, the US will have won the war there and lost the peace, and we will be no more secure than we were on September 11, 2001. The average person in Afghanistan wants good governance, reconstruction, and security, and they are looking to the US to bring these things about. We must stay the course, be bold and big-hearted, and remember the words of a wise man: ''By their fruits ye shall know them,'' said Jesus (Matthew 7:20). Thank you.
AFGHANISTAN: ARE WE LOSING THE PEACE?
Chairmen's Report of an Independent Task Force
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Frank G. Wisner II, Nicholas Platt, and Marshall Bouton, Co-Chairs
Dennis Kux and Mahnaz Ispahani, Project Executive Directors
Nineteen months after the defeat of the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies, Afghanistan remains a long way from achieving the U.S. goal of a stable self-governing state that no longer serves as a haven for terrorists. Indeed, failure to stem deteriorating security conditions and to spur economic reconstruction could lead to a reversion to warlord-dominated anarchy and mark a major defeat for the U.S. war on terrorism. To prevent this from happening, the Task Force recommends that the United States strengthen the hand of President Hamid Karzai and intensify support for security, diplomatic, and economic reconstruction in Afghanistan.
Although Karzai is trying to assert his authority outside Kabul, he lacks the means to compel compliance by recalcitrant warlords and regional leaders who control most of the countryside. Current policy for the 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan rules out support for Karzai against the regional warlords and also active participation in the planned effort to demobilize the 100,000-strong militias. In the Afghan setting, where the United States has the primary military power, this approach is mistaken and leaves a dangerous security void outside Kabul, where the 4,800-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) maintains the peace. (The United States has been unwilling until now to support deployment of ISAF elsewhere.) The U.S.-sponsored effort to develop the Afghan national army (ANA) is proceeding at a painfully slow pace and the projected strength of 9,000 men a year from now is grossly inadequate to provide the Afghan government a meaningful security capability. This is also true for the training of a national police force for which the Germans have taken lead responsibility.
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The United States should be exerting greater pressure on neighboring countries to support Afghanistan's stability and not to undercut the Karzai government through backing of regional warlords or failure to curb pro-Taliban elements. Breaking the well-ingrained habit of external meddling in Afghanistan is difficult but should have a high U.S. policy priority. To create an additional barrier, the Task Force also believes that the United States should undertake a major diplomatic initiative to obtain a high-level international agreement against outside interference in Afghanistan's domestic affairs.
Politically, Afghanistan faces major challenges in adhering to the schedule agreed upon during the December 2001 Bonn conference. A new constitution must be approved by the end of this year and national elections held by June 2004 to pave the way for a permanent Afghan government. Although adopting the constitution on schedule seems feasible, there are growing doubts whether the complex arrangements for presidential and parliamentary polls can be completed on time. To avoid elections that lack legitimacy, thought should be given to holding presidential elections on schedule but putting off parliamentary balloting in order to allow additional time for the administratively difficult and politically sensitive tasks of conducting a census and demarcating constituencies.
Inadequate security has also been a major factor in the painfully slow progress in reconstruction. Both the United States and others should be providing more tangible, effective, and timely assistance to allay rising discontent among Afghans about the lack of economic progress. The Karzai government has developed a realistic budget for 2003 ($2.2 billion) as well as an overall development strategy. These have been blessed by the United States, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and other major donors, but verbal praise must be followed by actual financial contributions. Moreover, the United States has combined relief aid with funds for reconstruction in totaling its assistance. Afghanistan, the World Bank says, needs $15 billion over the next five years for reconstruction alone in addition to relief assistance.
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One of the major economic weaknesses of the Karzai government has been its lack of control over customs collection. This provides a major source of government revenues, but remains largely in the control of regional leaders and warlords who have been keeping most of the money. Corrective actions need to be taken as part of the process of strengthening the central government.
Unlike in Iraq, the United Nations has the lead in coordinating political and economic assistance in Afghanistan. The United States and others share common goals and objectives. Even though the international effort is not perfect, it has functioned reasonably well. Still, the world thinks of Afghanistan as America's war. To address current problems there, the Task Force urges the United States to take a number of security, diplomatic, and reconstruction measures, all of which are designed to bolster the Kabul government:
Make peacekeeping part of the mandate of U.S. and coalition troops stationed in Afghanistan, permitting them to intervene if needed to support the Karzai government against defiant warlords. Alternatively, the United States should support an enlargement of ISAF and an expansion of its responsibilities to operate outside the city of Kabul.
Have U.S. forces participate in implementing the plan to demobilize, demilitarize, and reintegrate the regional militias. Without active U.S. involvement, this programa vital part of the process of strengthening the Karzai governmentis likely to fail.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Dramatically increase the pace of training the new Afghan national army. Instead of the woefully inadequate 9,000 man force currently envisaged for June 2004, the United States should be targeting a force of 27,000including integrated militiasto provide a credible peacekeeping capability for the permanent government slated to take power a year from now. The pace of training the national police force should also be drastically increased.
Support reform of the ministry of defense to make it a more nationally representative organization under full control of the central government.
Promptly deploy the eight planned provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) and if the concept proves successful, consider additional units. Although the stated purpose of the PRTs is to help in reconstruction, their presence has also improved security in areas where they are located.
Press Iran, Russia, and Pakistan to bring their real policy toward Afghanistan fully into line with their stated policy of supporting the Karzai government. Iran and Russia should not undercut Karzai by providing support to regional and factional leaders. Pakistan should do a better job of preventing pro-Taliban elements from using its territory to mount attacks on Afghanistan.
Undertake a major initiative to bolster the standing of the Afghan government and to buttress the December 2002 effort of the Karzai government against external interference. The initiative should seek formal international agreement by Afghanistan's neighbors and other concerned powers not to interfere there, to ban the supply of arms and equipment to warlords, to accept Afghanistan's frontiers, and to promote trade, transit, and customs collection arrangements. The signing of the agreement should ideally coincide with the coming to power of the permanent Afghan government.
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Provide at least $1 billion assistance for reconstruction in each of the coming five years over and above humanitarian aid. This will represent one-third of the $15 billion that is needed.
Ensure that U.S. assistance priorities are consistent with those established by the Karzai government and that programs are implemented under the aegis of Afghanistan's central government. Karzai's ability to attract and distribute foreign assistance is a major political asset. The United States should be careful not to undercut him by setting its own aid priorities and bypassing Kabul in program implementation.
Support actions that will give the central government greater control over collection of customs.
Complete the rebuilding of the Kabul-Kandahar road by the end of 2003 as promised by President Bush and press other donors to finish their portions of the road project expeditiously. Rebuilding Afghanistan's main road arteries would provide visible proof of reconstruction and a major boost to the economy.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Goodson. Mr. Santos.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES SANTOS, DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER, FOUNDATION FOR CENTRAL ASIAN DEVELOPMENT
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. SANTOS. Thank you, Chairman Hyde, for this opportunity to testify.
As a New Yorker who was present in the city as the Twin Towers were attacked and a witness to the enormous suffering it caused, and as a person who has great respect for the U.S. Armed Forces and having assisted them in their efforts during the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, I believe that we must not deny the reality of the reemergence of extremism in Afghanistan, particularly of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the southern and eastern parts of the country, and even in Kabul.
We must not accept that they are the same as the leaders who fought with us to defeat them. The battle against those who attacked America is not over. We cannot deny the threat of extremism in the southern and eastern areas of Afghanistan, where Americans and other foreigners are routinely attacked, while in the north, western, and central areas of Afghanistan, Americans and other foreigners are generally welcomed. This is not about Mr. Karzai or regional leaders or warlords; it is about extremism and its danger.
The way to challenge extremism in Afghanistan is to challenge its ideology of ethnic and religious domination and control. To do this, the U.S. must face the fact that its policy has been based on three basic denials that are enabling extremism. The first is the denial of diversity of the Afghan nation. Many U.S. and U.N. policy-makers have accepted the view often expressed by particular leaders that Afghans see each other as brothers undivided by differences. Any talk of addressing issues of ethnicity or diversity are often characterized as a plot to divide the country. Consequently, the necessary dialogue among communities has been squelched. Yet the very diversity that is now denied was understood by the U.S. military, and that understanding enabled them to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda extremists.
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Afghanistan is made up of many groups: Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Imeks, Nuristanis, Kizalbash, Beluchis. Yet the Bonn Agreements of late 2001 sought to build a strong central authority, trusting the myth that he who controls Kabul controls Afghanistan. Those who have bought into the notion of a single happy family of Afghans are aggravating the situation in denying diverse groups constructive political expression. We must try harder to address the concerns of ethnic communities, not build massive armies to be used against the Afghan people.
Our policy in Afghanistan is in sharp contrast to our Iraq policy, which recognizes that country's diversity and the political rights of groups long oppressed there. The reality in Afghanistan is that from the perspective of many in the regions, Kabul is not so much a capital as another region. It seems that we have ignored our recent experience in the former Yugoslavia, which had similar levels of diversity.
This leads to the second denial, the denial of Afghan history. Though the Pashtuns may be the largest ethnic group in the country, and though they have historically ruled and dominated, they are not a majority. Afghanistan is a country of minorities. In the aftermath of a century of oppression of the non-Pashtun peoples, more than a decade of communist rule, a devastating civil war, and the excesses of the Taliban regime, there will be no permanent peace or security without recognizing this fact, and restoring confidence and trust of the different ethnic groups traumatized by the numerous campaigns to homogenize the country.
The Taliban were ethnic nationalists, as well as religious extremists. And though many Pashtuns benefitted from their rule, the non-Pashtuns were brutally oppressed. Yet the lexicon of domination continues, and insists that whenever a non-Pashtun leader begins to talk of diversity or the rights of his community, he is often labeled a warlord, and his people or his community infidels or worse.
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U.S. policy-makers need to understand that Afghanistan's failure to fully centralize in the past was not due to lack of nerve; it was not due to lack of force. It is that centralization has always amounted to essentially Pastunizing the country, a near-impossible task given the scale of diversity. In previous times, Kabul usually required foreign intervention to sustain subjugation of non-Pashtun peoples, and even of some of the Pashtun tribes.
National unity and security does not come from a single person, no matter how well-intentioned, or building national institutions which are not rooted in the various ethnic communities. It does not come from more troops. It comes from building trust and good will among the different tribes and ethnic groups and regions. It comes from respecting the rights of different communities and allowing them to elect their own leaders, not imposing them. This is especially necessary after decades of war and a century of brutal ethnic and religious persecution.
A program that allows communities to choose their leaders and supports decentralization and local governance is the best means of building security, needed for the reconstruction that we all seek. Security, in the end, must rest on trust and good will between communities, not force or threats.
This leads to the third denial, and that is the denial of our own experience as Americans. Centralization cannot work in Afghanistan, and never has. But some have refused to acknowledge the implications of diversity, and have tried to shoehorn the country into something it never was and never will be. We have failed to use the best example we have of accepting diversity: Our own experience. The civil rights struggle is a perfect example. We learned that diversity must be accepted, and not demonized, and the rights of people respected. That national saga is something that strengthened America, not divided it. And we need to bring that experience with sensitivity to bear overseas.
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I was with Congressman Rohrabacher this past April in Mizar-i-sharif when he held a seminar with intellectuals. And I saw personally how interested these people were in the political experience of the United States, even at its founding, and how America found the balance between its regions and centers, or its states and centers. The best way we can help the Afghans find their balance and establish a government that is reflective of its vast diversity is to affirm what is best in our own experience of governance, not deny that experience.
We need to be open to the idea of federalism and the powerful role of democratically-elected local and regional governments as a way of creating trust and good will among diverse regions and communities. We have learned it. The Swiss have learned it. The Germans have learned it. The Canadians have learned it. A decentralized system directly repudiates ethnic and religious extremism. A federalist approach challenges the dogma of domination with a more tolerant and moderate political order. It will not divide Afghanistan, it will save it.
This is why I believe the best Ambassadors to Afghanistan are, in fact, the individuals I am addressing today, for you have the experience of diversity and accommodation, a real appreciation of democratic governance. It is your life experience. It is experience that the Afghans need to draw on as they find their balance and build their country together.
Afghanistan is faced with a historic choice. It is not between chaos and order; it is between acceptance of diversity, or return to old formulas of domination.
I want to also acknowledge Congressman Rohrabacher for all his work. And I would like to express my appreciation for Congressman Royce's efforts with Radio Free Afghanistan, which was motivated by the idea that Afghan people must have the information that they need to take control of their own destiny.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Santos follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHARLES SANTOS, DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER, FOUNDATION FOR CENTRAL ASIAN DEVELOPMENT
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Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much, Mr. Santos. Now, we have two panels. This was the first panel; we have a second panel. I want to get to the second panel so everyone has a chance to be heard. And so I am going to ask for questions of the Members here in the order in which you have appeared. We have tried to keep an accurate database on that. But I am going to respectfully request that if you have a question, ask the question, cut to the chase, because an awful lot of time can be consumed in making statements, and the time for that would be after we have heard from the second panel if you have statements to make.
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So I would deeply appreciate your cooperation. And the first person we will go to is Dana Rohrabacher.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Although it was not necessarily reflected in testimonyand let me commend all of you, your testimony was terrific. And the American people need to know the information that you have presented us, and Congress needs to know.
But I am somewhat concerned at what appears to be, Mr. Chairman, an anemic effort in terms of reconstruction of Afghanistan. We abandoned the people of Afghanistan before, and that is what gave rise to this radical Islam and the woes of that country. And I do not think that we have proven to them, with the type of effort, with a substantial reconstruction effort that they need, that we really are going to fulfill the promise. And I just want to put that on the record.
We need to make sure that these men, and people talk about the warlords, the warlords are able to hire people to work for them and to carry guns for them because those people have no other alternative way of earning a living. Let us give the people of Afghanistan a chance to build roads and aqueducts and rebuild their country, and put down the AK47s and pick up the shovels and build their country. They cannot do that on their own. They need a substantial investment from the United States. We owe it to them. And I just thought I would throw that thought out.
And as a question, Mr. Rubin, you mentioned the police going to Mazar-i-Sharif. I happen to agree with Mr. Santos in terms of, you know, having elections and a local system. Do you foresee a system in Afghanistan where the local police are being commanded by Kabul? And is that going to create unity in a society, or will that create tensions in a society? Just like we would never agree in the United States to have our local police controlled by Washington, DC.
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Mr. RUBIN. In our research project we have conducted studies of this and have published several papers. We have conducted research in many parts of Afghanistan. And what we have found is that, at the moment, because of the current realities in Afghanistan, nearly everyone in the country, including members of ethnic minorities, say that they want a strong central government. That is because the current form of decentralized power consists of power by unaccountable armed men; namely, commanders. And therefore, when these police are sent from Kabul to other areas of the country, they are warmly welcomed as saviors by the people there. And the people are now looking to Kabul to save them from these unaccountable local commanders.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay, your research has determined that. And you were there yourself recently?
Mr. RUBIN. Yes, yes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Santos, is that
Mr. RUBIN. But that is not the whole story, if I may just briefly finish.
However, I agree that once a rule of law is basically established, there should be measures for decentralization, including, I believe, community policing, which has always been the norm in Afghanistan, though it was not part of the legal structure.
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Mr. ROHRABACHER. So the first step would be to make sure that there are free and fair elections, not just in Kabul but throughout the country, so that if these warlords are, you know, they are in power because of their force and brute force, that the people can secretly vote on a secret ballot to eliminate their power, and set up a local government contrary to a local warlord. Would that be right?
Mr. RUBIN. It is not quite so simple. At the moment people all over the country say they want these people fired by the President. Because officially, they are governors or generals, and therefore they are serving legally speaking, though not in fact.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. It is always easier to determine what the will of the people is through an election, and especially if we are there to help make sure it is a free election, rather than quoting studies.
Mr. RUBIN. There should be elections to local and provincial councils. What powers these will have will be determined by the future constitution. I know this issue is being actively discussed by the Constitutional Commission.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Ackerman.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you. Just to clarify, because I was apparently not articulate enough to express myself before. I was not attempting to protect the rights of the Chair, who can do so certainly very adequately, but merely the Members of the Committee on both sides of the aisle and the Subcommittee Chairs, in stating that if the Subcommittee is bypassed, that at least at the Full Committee hearing the Chair of the Subcommittee and also the Ranking Member be allowed to make an opening statement.
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You might note that with the exception of Mr. Chabot, neither the Chairman or any other Member of the Subcommittee is here. And with the exception of myself, there is no Democratic Member. And Members would like to feel vested somehow in the process.
Chairman HYDE. Are we ignoring the Democrats that are here?
Mr. ACKERMAN. No, we are not, Mr. Chairman. But the usual rule of order that we follow is to allow the Ranking Members of the Committee to make opening statements. And I just suggested, for the sake of
Chairman HYDE. Well, I appreciate
Mr. ACKERMAN [continuing]. Investing people in the process, that if the Full Committee, because of the weighty nature of the matter before us be taken up by the Full Committee rather than the Subcommittee, that at least a statement by the Chair, who is a very capable person in this particular case, be allowed to be made.
Chairman HYDE. Well, I appreciate what the gentleman is saying, and I have no wish to deny any opportunity to make a statement on behalf of the Subcommittee. But sometimes a chair must exercise its judgment on the time available. And I am interested in hearing from all of the witnesses. And so I apologize for not giving the gentleman an opportunity to make a statement, but will be generous in time on your question. So use it in good health.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It was not myself that I was trying to protect, but just as a general rule, the other Members, because perhaps then we would get more participation at the Full Committee level, which we desperately need on a matter such as this, by Members of the Subcommittee who feel, I think, bypassed.
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I, for one, have been very concerned from the very beginning, and have been very supportive of the Administration's efforts in Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq. But from what we have seen, according to my own personal observation, the promises do not come to fruition from the Administration. It does not seem to be the case here. It does not seem to be the case in New York, where the phrase ''rebuild with whatever it takes'' has come to pass. And I fear that is going to happen in Iraq, as well, all different situations, of course.
But the lack of commitment by the Administration to what they called nation-building would seem to doom to failure anything that we would hope would happen in Afghanistan. I am not sure what the psychosis is, but people who do the same things over and over again and expect a different result have some kind of a problem. We have that problem, whatever that is. We are going to be looking at the same picture 2 years, 5 years, 10 years from now. If the only thing about our democracy that we are teaching people in Afghanistan is bureaucracy and red tape and over- or mismanagement, that would be a very, very sad thing.
It seems that we have, at least on the civilian side, three special envoys running the thing, I do not know how many on the military side, operating at cross-purposes at times, and the job really not getting done, certainly the job of reconstruction not getting done where the international community has pledged $2.2 billion for this year, and only $191 million of that, less than 9 percent, has actually been spent. We do a better job on the humanitarian side.
What do we do quickly to pull this together? I guess is the question. And we have heard some interesting answers from different perspectives. Can the Administration do this with the current structure that we have now? If you could keep it to a real brief answer, Ambassador Tomsen.
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Mr. TOMSEN. In my opinion, it has to come from the top. It is like President Bush getting so frustrated with USAID's lethargy on building the Kabul-Kandahar road. It is the same old problem. A contract was let to a large American corporation, which must sublet to subcontractors. And they sublet to other contractors, and money gets ensnarled in the bureaucracy, and nothing has happened.
So President Bush issued an order that that road be finished by 2003. And it is not road construction, it is only road repair, because the United States built that road in the 1960s.
So the first principle is, it has to come from the top, because it is a big mess out there. There is no coordination. This outstanding Freedom Support Act that Congress passed spent a lot of time discussing the importance of policy coordination on the ground by American agencies inside Afghanistan. That is not happening.
So first of all, there has to be a policy.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Are these cost-plus contracts?
Mr. TOMSEN. I am not aware of the nature of the contracts, sir. But it has to start at the top. There has to be an overall umbrella policy, diplomatic and operational. And then you have to have inter-agency discipline to implement those policies.
In my statement I also discussed the importance of reforming USAID's approach, because a lot of money is wasted, a lot of money eventually does not get to projects, and it is always delayed. Then there is
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Mr. ACKERMAN. Let me ask a different question, because I want to get as much in as possible. Without a commitment to nation-building, can we be successful in Afghanistan? If you can give us a yes or no, and maybe start with Mr. Santos. Try a yes or no, if you could.
Mr. SANTOS. No. I have already said no.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Frahi?
Mr. FRAHI. No.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Rubin?
Mr. RUBIN. In those terms, no. It should be called something else.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Ambassador?
Mr. TOMSEN. No.
Mr. ACKERMAN. The Clerk will announce the vote as five nos, no yeses.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired.
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Mr. ACKERMAN. I thank the Chair.
Chairman HYDE. You bet. Mr. Royce.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ambassador Tomsen, I am going to ask you about the situation in Afghanistan. In your prepared testimony you mentioned that the officers in the field do not speak Pashtun or Farsi; they are not able to communicate. You know, that is in pretty marked contrast to Lieutenant-General John Abizaid just being appointed to replace General Tommy Franks. He is an Arabic speaker.
So clearly in Iraq we have this right. We have people in the field who can speak the language. But in Afghanistan, we never really have done that. We have reliedand I listened to your testimony earlierwe have relied a lot on Pakistani intelligence, on ISI, to give us our sense of what is really going on instead of developing a network of people, diplomats and CIA, that know the language.
I was going to ask you about that. And I was also going to ask you about the reports that a correspondent for Radio Free Afghanistan, which was a product of this Committee, was beaten in Herat by Governor Ismail Khan's security forces while he was attempting to cover the opening of a human rights office there. Let me ask you that first, and get your response.
Mr. TOMSEN. Of course, I agree with your implication that this is directly contrary to American policy, everything we are trying to do in Afghanistan.
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Mr. ROYCE. I think it has been the preference of many on this Committee to expand the ISAF beyond just Kabul. When I was in Afghanistan I had the opportunity to speak with members of our provisional reconstruction teams, who were then Special Forces. They very much enjoyed their work, and were given a degree of autonomy and authority that, in the early aftermath of the Iraqi war, our officers did not have. The British had it; they had authorization in their sector. I recently returned with Congressman Duncan Hunter from Iraq. The British in their sector had the authority to make decisions to draw on resources. If there was a water pump, they had Iraqi dinar to pay Iraqis to fix it. In our sector we still have a bureaucracy up and running where it is very difficult and time-consuming. It would take 3 weeks, for example, and by then the unit might have moved onfor our military to have that type of authority.
With the creation of provisional reconstruction teams, we see something that, if we can actually create it as a template, and convince the British and French to agree to assist us in Afghanistan in developing these teams, do you see a long-term possibility for not only figuring out how our military, that is so good at winning a war, can also be a part of winning the peace? But also establishing a way to empower them and to give them the resources necessary to build bridges with local communities, so that there is more understanding on the part of Afghans as to the intention of the U.S. on the ground.
Mr. TOMSEN. Absolutely. And I must say that we have done this before. I was a District Senior Advisor in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam war, and I had over $1 million to spend in my district, which I used for projects like you are talking about. In Bosnia, our Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, a part of USAID, had officers who went around Bosnia giving contractors contracts at the village level for projects, moving money into the economy, increasing the velocity of the economy, creating jobs.
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We are not doing that at all in Afghanistan today. OFDA has ossified, like much of USAID has done in the last 20 years. They had an OFDA team that was supposed to go in. It was deployed to Tashkent and to Islamabad, but then it was brought back to Washington.
So we have done this before. We did it in the Balkans, we did it in other places, we did it in East Timor. We can do it again. And the U.S. military also should be so equipped. Unfortunately, the entire budget for civic action for the PRTs this year is only $12 million. I was out there last September, and a Colonel in the civic action program told me they could easily spend $23 million.
So it is a good concept, it is a good framework for development of the PRTs, blending security and development. But they have to get more resources. They are under-resourced. And they also have to get more punch, militarily.
Mr. ROYCE. We only had three teams, and one British team. NATO is going to take that over in August. Is this an opportunity to expand NATO's role?
Mr. TOMSEN. I would increase the PRTs, I would double them, but position them in the towns and out in the countryside. The additional NATO contingent, as I mention in my remarks, I believe should be limited to two brigades: One to guard the Afghan/Pak border with Afghan military police and border police, and the other brigade to be assigned to protection of roads, dams, and bridges, infrastructure projects that are coming online. And that second brigade should work with local tribal elders and committees, the local power structure, to protect these assets which they very much want to see come online.
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Mr. ROYCE. Thank you.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has expired. Parenthetically, the Chair would like to say that it is our expectation to have the Administration up. We have done this kind of in reverse. Instead of having the Administration first, we have you first. So we will know what questions to ask. And we intend to ask them, based on the information all of you have provided that has been very helpful.
Ms. McCollum is next, and she wishes not to avail herself of this opportunity.
Ms. Lee is not with us. So we will try Ms. Watson.
Ms. WATSON. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity. And I want to commend the panelists, particularly Mr. Santos, with whom which I could not agree with more.
One of the problems I see in going into these countries in the Middle East, and in terms of trying to restructure, is the lack of sensitivity to the variety of religious beliefs and religious sectors. And the other problem is that we do not understand their language. And much gets lost in the translation.
I have lived in enough foreign countries and picked up enough of the languages in those countries to know that even with an interpreter there, you are not getting the full meaning of what they are trying to say to you.
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And so my question to you, Mr. Santos, is, how do we structure, as we try to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq, what would be a viable government? And I think you have already answered most of it, because you said we are going to have to do it on the local level. And I think we all understand that politics is local.
I see Afghanistan and Iraq as theocracies, guided by their religious beliefs. How do we put that in a workable format so that we can sustain our input, but that at some point see them as sovereign nations and pull back? How do we do this?
Mr. SANTOS. Well, first I think you have to understand the complexity of the society. And it is a very complex society. It is one that has suffered enormously over the last 100 years. There have been efforts to dominate particular groups by other groups. And we have seen this in Iraq, we have seen this in Yugoslavia, we have seen this in Rwanda, we have seen this in so many places around the world.
So one must start from the position that these, all these groups have a right and a place at the table, so to speak. So power-sharing, in the sense I think that the Bonn Accords created it, was very limited. And one needs to bring it back to communities, bring it back to the regions as well.
And I think part of the trouble we have is we get into the language of warlords and the center or regions in the center. And I think that there are absolutely issues with particular leaders who misbehave and should be held accountable. But I think it also hides the ethnic dimension, and this is my big concern, is that we have neglected that ethnic dimension, and basically defined this in a way that ignored that diversity. And I think we have to find a way of reconnecting to it.
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Ms. WATSON. Mr. Chairman, one of the mistakes we make is putting a panel like this together, and not having a woman on it.
The issue that resignated real well with me prior to our going into Afghanistan is the fact that women were treated so badly, and women had no rights. And I certainly would like to hearand I understand there is, within the new government, a woman. And I would certainly have liked to have had someone who represents her views sitting on the panel today. Because I really think that if this government is going to work for its people, it has to be sure that it liberates its women. And I would like to hear from them if they are being considered in this new reconstruction.
But I have to also support Mr. Santos when he says that we need to look at the various ethnic groups and have some understanding and sensitivity. I think that is the problem, the key problem, with the United States going in and talking about liberating, when we really do not understand the complexities. Men understood weapons of mass destruction. Women understand something else, and I have not heard that viewpoint yet.
But I thank you, Mr. Santos, because you were the only one that really pointed up the fact that we are dealing with a very complex society. And until we can put together an after-the-war strategy that takes into considerationyou know, this is a different world for us. And a democracy, as we understand it in America, is not going to be the democracy that we build in these countries. It just will not work. And I can tell you that from experience.
And to the Ambassador, he understands, he is on the ground there. We can come in with all of our programs, all of our money, and all of our intentions. But if we do not take into consideration the local organizations, the local groups, the local ethnic groups, their beliefs, their religions, and so on, and sit them at the table and say, look, we are here to assist you, you have got to work it out, then we are going to miss the point. We will have won the war, but we will not have won the peace.
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Chairman HYDE. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Ms. WATSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. I would like to suggest to the gentlelady that if we can get to the next panel, we have a representative of Human Rights Watch, and they will discuss, he will discuss, based on a study done by a woman and a man, the problems of women in Afghanistan.
I also would like you to know that the panel was selected by a woman on our staff. [Laughter.]
Ms. WATSON. Where is that woman to speak for women?
Chairman HYDE. She is right here.
Ms. WATSON. But where is the one on the panel? Maybe you can point that person out to me.
Chairman HYDE. No, there is not one on the panel.
Mr. ACKERMAN. We are not going to out anybody today.
Chairman HYDE. There is a man who worked with a woman, but he was senior to her, and so he will testify. We could have had the woman here, too, but that would have been redundant.
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In any event, thank you for your contribution. And Mr. Chabot?
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The question I direct to the gentleman of the United Nations, Representative Mr. Frahi.
In the humanitarian and restructuring aid that we and others are introducing into Afghanistan through the IMF and the World Bank and Asia Development Bank and USAID, UNDP and the NGOs being linked by these providers to drug eradication in the opiumare they being linked to drug eradication in the opium production regions? In other words, are we linking assistance to drug eradication? And if not, how can we expect to see major opium eradication in the producing areas?
Mr. FRAHI. Thank you for this question. Indeed, the situation started last year without any particular linkage of definite programs to poppy elimination in opium poppy areas.
Standard projects have taken place in opium poppy areas. But as I said in my statement, unfortunately the impact of this project have not been linked initially to the elimination of poppy elimination. And that is something that we have started to redress. We have set up in Kabul, through our regional country office, a coordination group whereby we work directly with the Ministry for Rural Development, the donors, the NGOs, and the U.N. agencies in order to bring consistency into the programs which are being developed.
At the same time, I think that we have to be extremely careful in the funding of these projects. And we need to ensure that projects, when they provide certain assistance such as irrigation, renovation of carriers, provision of fertilizers, we have to be extremely careful that what we provide as an element to help the communities is not diverted from the purpose of the project and used by the communities to develop further opium poppy cultivation. There is a need to ensure that somewhere a conditional policy be set up with the communities in order to ensure that when we provide assistance, they eliminate poppy cultivation.
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Mr. CHABOT. Thank you. And it is my understanding that originally the Taliban regime was directly involved in benefitting from opium production for some period of time. And then toward the end, or closer to their overthrow by the United States and our allies, they had switched positions and were attempting to eradicate it, keep the opium production down, and it did go down. But that it has again continued to be far too frequent. And I think that is one of the things that needs particular work. Because it is unfortunate that our effort goes in there to free the people and to do all the things that we did to benefit that country and to protect our own citizens, but then to have the opium production go up is something we need to do a much better job on.
And Mr. Santos, could you comment on the linkage in our aid and other organizations' aid, that we are involved to drug eradication? And what you think is being done, or ought to be done?
Mr. SANTOS. Yes. My experience, just coming back from the north, for example, Congressman Rohrabacher went to Kabul and then to Mazar, and had brought up the issue of drug eradication very, very substantially. And one of the results were that some of the leaders in the north began an effort to try to eradicate, and I think something like 12 hectares of opium was bulldozed.
But the problem was that there was no real support for the continuation of those efforts. And I think the programs that
Mr. CHABOT. Support by whom?
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Mr. SANTOS. By U.S. authorities or by the central government. And I think that we have to reward, as was said earlier, those who are really willing and active in the effort to eradicate these drugs, and who believe that they are a danger to the Afghan people. And not just see everything as whether the central authority agrees or not. I think we should encourage that at all levels.
Chairman HYDE. The gentleman's time has run out.
Mr. CHABOT. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman HYDE. It has virtually expired. Ms. Lee.
Ms. LEE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First let me say I want to fully associate myself with the remarks of the gentlelady from California. And to the Chairman, let me just say I appreciate your response, but I would like to take this one step further.
I believe, and it may have been I guess in the Freedom Support Act, Congresswoman Juanita Millander McDonald authored a resolution which we presented, and that was passed by this Committee, requiringand I do not believe the exact requirement, but basically it was the inclusion and the empowerment of women in all of the types of activities at all levels in Afghanistan. And the United States had some specific role in making sure that this would be complied with in terms of our support.
So I am wondering maybe, Ambassador Tomsen, maybe you can answer this for me. In terms of, how do you see, or what is going on with regard to the United States' position, responsibility, role, in ensuring that we are helping to promote in women's rights, the inclusion of women, human rights, women's empowerment, all of those kinds of efforts that we wrote into the legislation? How are we providing oversight, consulting, expertise, technical assistance toward that end?
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Chairman HYDE. Would the gentlelady yield just for a second?
Ms. LEE. Yes.
Chairman HYDE. An addendum to that question, how are we doing changing the culture of that society? It is a rhetorical question.
Ms. LEE. And that is Mr. Chairman's question, right?
Mr. TOMSEN. Well, historically, as you might know, women occupied over 50 percent of the teaching positions in Afghanistan. Over 50 percent of the doctors in Afghanistan were women. This is before the Soviet invasion. When you walked the streets of Kabul, they looked pretty much like Ankara, Turkey, where women were out; they were not covered in a veil. This continued in the communist period, as well.
So what we are talking about is going back to a situation, at least in Kabul, that existed previously. It is more conservative in the rural areas, particularly in the Pashtun areas of the south. But what you are aiming at is not unattainable, because in many ways, especially in the cities, it was there before. How do you get back to it?
Our aid programs, I think you will have to get the Administration to address this in more detail, but we do have specific focuses on women. For instance, girls' schools and co-ed schools around the country is very much a part of the aid education effort.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Around the country, too, there are special projects to build meeting-houses for women. Now, this might not sound like much, but it is important where you have many widows in the country who have lost their husbands. And they want to meet with other women. And they want, through that conduit, these women organizations and women houses, to get into handicraft projects and other income-earning projects. And this is another area of focus of our assistance programs.
Let me also, if I may, defer to Dr. Rubin, who might also be able to address this. With your permission.
Ms. LEE. Thank you. And let me ask, if I may, included in your response, Dr. Rubin or any of you, could you also indicate, in terms of just democracy-building, once again what is the United Statesand thank you, I appreciate your response, Ambassador Tomsenwhat is the United States doing, and what is our role in that whole effort?
Mr. RUBIN. I think that in dealing with both of these issues, we have to understand the context of Afghanistan right now.
You will see in the audience people who I believe were brought here by the feminist majority, wearing stickers that say ''Expand ISAF for Afghan Women.'' This is because the number-one demand of women in Afghanistan today is security. If they are not secure enough to go out of their houses and move around, if their family membersand family is the central institution of Afghan lifeare not safe enough to go around and seek employment, go to school, then all of these other things we are talking about will have no effect. And the women who participated in the Loya Jirga did not talk primarily about so-called women's issues; they talked primarily and very vocally, more vocally than the men delegates, about the need for security and overcoming warlordism, and having a government that will protect their rights. That is the number-one women's issue in Afghanistan.
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Second, Afghanistan is off the charts in maternal mortality. And I believe we do have a program to try to address that issue, but that is extremely important as well.
Chairman HYDE. Mr. Leach.
Mr. Leach. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing and for assembling an incredibly impressive panel on this subject.
I am just trying to put together all these thoughts in terms of broad principles, and I have one very small question. In terms of broad principles, it seems to me that there are five that come to bear. One, the communications principle; the world is obviously closer. The second is kind of an inverse principle: The smaller the country, the more it may matter in the world. The third is a principle, the bigger the country the more vulnerable it is to some of the new expressions of dissent in the world. The fourth is a traditional principle, meaning that traditional armies are good at traditional warfare, but not always at every new national security challenge, and particularly not necessarily as good at peace-keeping. And the fifth is a responsibility principle that when we intervene, we become responsible.
And it strikes me when you put all of this together, we have to be in Afghanistan on a substantial, sustained basis. And I am left with how we, as a society, learn, because we are in a new world and we are just learning from it.
And I want to talk directly to Mr. Goodson, because I think his testimony was as thoughtful as could be, coming from a military perspective. And I want to suggest several things.
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One, the Army War College is an extraordinary institution the American public knows very little about. But you are responsible for producing one of the most sophisticated military officer training classes in the history of the world, not just in military affairs, but in all of the things that surround military activity.
There has been oneand here is the small questionissue regarding the War College that has developed this spring, and that is the disbandment of the Peace-Keeping Institute. Is this kind of an academic rearrangement that does not matter? Is this a symbolic thing? What is your judgment about this circumstance? Is this the type of thing we ought to keep central to the War College, or was it correct to disband?
Mr. GOODSON. Well, just to address quickly your small question, I do not work in that section of the War College. And my understanding of it is that it is a reorganization, and that the tasks of the Peace-Keeping Institute would be a pick-up elsewhere.
I might add to that that today we get officers who come to us, Lieutenant-Colonels and Colonels, to go on hopefully and become Senior Colonels and Generals, who have a background in peace operations and what we were calling generally nation-building activities, that they did not have a few years ago. And we have people like myself on the staff who have a background, as well, in our professional lives. So in many ways we are incorporating what we are losing from PKI elsewhere on the staff.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you. Mr. Faleomavaega.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Real quickly, Mr. Chairman, I know we have a vote coming up. But I just want to say thank you for holding the hearing, and for having the distinguished members of the panel give us their testimonies.
I happen to agree whole-heartedly with Dr. Rubin's assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, as we are currently experiencing the same thing in Iraq. Without security measures taken by the powers, especially by our nation, all that we are going to contribute and everything that we are trying to do is going to be in vain and irrelevant. And I believe that if we do not take measures to do this in Afghanistan, we are going to be spinning our wheels, as we are currently doing right now in Iraq itself. We cannot even find Osama bin Laden; we do not even know if Saddam Hussein is still alive. So we have got some very serious problems here.
I want to make more comments, but I will wait until the next panel, Mr. Chairman. And I thank you for giving me the chance to speak.
Chairman HYDE. Thank you very much. We have three votes pending. Two of them I think will be 15 minutes each, and one 5 minutes, so that will be quite a bit of time.
I am going to let this panel go. You have done marvelously well, made a great contribution. And this is not the end, this is the beginning of this issue.
But I will ask the next panel to be patient, and we will resume at 2 o'clock, in 1 hour. It might give you a chance to get some lunch, and give us a chance to vote and get back.
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So my thanks to this panel. And if the next panel will indulge us, we will get to you around 2 o'clock. Thank you.
Mr. ROYCE [presiding]. This Committee hearing on Afghanistan will reconvene. We are going to introduce our next panel.
Mr. Norman Leatherwood serves as Executive Director of Shelter for Life, which is a non-profit organization that provides innovative solutions to shelter and infrastructure needs in situations where there is a refugee community. Shelter for Life is currently one of the non-governmental organizations that is very active in Afghanistan.
He holds a B.A. Degree in political science and accounting from Northern Illinois University. We welcome him.
Also we have Mr. John Sifton. He is the Afghanistan researcher at Human Rights Watch. He previously worked in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the advocacy coordinator for the International Rescue Committee. He also worked in Albania and Kosovo during the 1999 U.S.-led campaign to liberate Kosovo.
He holds a Law Degree from New York University School of Law, and a B.A. from St. John's College in Annapolis. He has published articles on Afghanistan in The New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, and The International Herald-Tribune.
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I would also be remiss if I did not offer my condolences to everyone at Human Rights Watch. I was saddened to hear of Mike Jendrzejczyk's sudden passing. He was a wealth of knowledge on Asia, from Afghanistan to victims in North Korea, and he will be sorely missed.
Our last witness is Mr. Hasan Nouri. He is Chairman of International Orphan Care's Afghanistan Project. He was a co-founder of the International Medical Corps. He is also President of RiverTech, a consulting engineering forum, and a former teacher at Kabul University in Afghanistan. He is an active member of the Afghan-American community, and he has been a sincere advocate for helping the people of Afghanistan.
He has previously testified before Congressional and Senate hearings on Afghanistan. And we welcome Mr. Nouri again to this Committee.
We also want to express our appreciation for our witnesses coming so far to testify today, and ask each of you if you will now just do a summation, because we have your statement already in the record. If we could start with Mr. Hasan Nouri.
STATEMENT OF HASAN NOURI, CHAIRMAN, INTERNATIONAL ORPHAN CARE
Mr. NOURI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First I want to express my sincere appreciation to you for your efforts for the past 10 years to establish peace in Afghanistan. Had Washington took your advice, Afghanistan would not have been in this disastrous shape for the past 10 years, sir.
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I also want to go on record that this morning the witnesses that have testified, I am 100 percent in support of the testimony of Ambassador Peter Tomsen and Professor Rubin and Professor Goodson.
I am respectfully in disagreement with the testimony of Mr. Charles Santos about the local autonomy. Local autonomy is another word for warlordism. Local autonomy could mean disintegration of Afghanistan, and it could mean disintegration of Pakistan.
The British, very brilliantly, 60 years ago divided the Pashtuns into Pakistan and Afghanistan. When disintegration happens, disintegration will happen in the entire region, and that would pose the greatest risk for the United States of America.
Mr. ROYCE. Just a clarification. When you say ''brilliantly,'' you mean brilliantly from the standpoint of the British, not in terms of the standpoint of the Pashtuns?
Mr. NOURI. In terms of the British. Yes, Mr. Chairman, that is what I meant.
Soon after we liberated the people of Afghanistan from the barbaric rule of the Taliban and inhuman treatment by al-Qaeda, the United States repeatedly promised extensive support to the Afghan people in rebuilding their nation: A vision of the peaceful Afghanistan with a stable civil society and a growing economy was planted firmly in the mind's eye of the Afghan people, the American people, and people throughout the Middle East and the world.
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However, this year's proposed USAID budget for Afghanistan has been limited, and international donors, led by the United States, have pledged insufficient amounts. And even those amounts are not materializing as actual allocations.
Now we are beginning to see the Afghan people protesting in the streets of Kabul. It is very sad that it has come to this, only 1 year after seeing them dance in the streets and welcome American liberation from the Taliban.
Lack of proper support by the United States, coupled with ineffective government in Afghanistan, has resulted in the loss of hope by the Afghan people. For a government to succeed in Afghanistan, it must have no allegiance or loyalty to any foreign power or nation.
During the proceedings of the formation of an Afghan transition government in December, 2001 in Bonn, Germany, and subsequent Loya Jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan in June 2002, we should have learned from the mistakes of previous experiences by the British and the former Soviet Union. During the period of 1842 through 1930 the British Empire did not succeed installing a government in Afghanistan. After 12 years of blatant interference and genocide, the former Soviet Union also did not succeed in installing a communist government in Afghanistan.
After 88 years of trials and tribulations, the British Empire finally succeeded in the establishment of a government that had no allegiance or loyalty to the British. The British were amenable to that government of Afghanistan, because it also had no loyalty or allegiance toward the former Soviet Union or Nazi Germany.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mohammad Nadir Shah, the father of Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former King of Afghanistan who is now residing in Kabul, formed that government. We should have learned from the mistakes of the past, and promoted a government that had no allegiance to us, but would have been effective in preventing production of narcotics and continuation of terrorism.
At this point of my testimony I would like to attract your attention, Mr. Chairman, to the peace plan by Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former King of Afghanistan, which I presented before the House Committee on International Relations on May 9, 1996, and again on November 7, 2001. Please see figure one and note that the struggle against terrorism and narcotics was an integral part of that plan, and I have highlighted that on that chart.
Unfortunately, this plan by Mohammad Zahir Shah was not implemented, and he was sidelined by our direct inference. If we lift the process of Loya Jirga that had succeeded in Afghanistan for centuries alone, Mohammad Zahir Shah could have played a key role in the establishment of a legitimate national government.
Mr. ROYCE. We understand that argument, and we will put that statement in the record. You are unfortunately out of time, Mr. Nouri. So we are going to go to Mr. Leatherwood and then Mr. Sifton, and then when we come back for questions you can make some additional points at that time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nouri follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF HASAN NOURI, CHAIRMAN, INTERNATIONAL ORPHAN CARE
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Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Leatherwood, you have exactly 5 minutes. And I would urge you to watch the clock.
STATEMENT OF NORMAN C. LEATHERWOOD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SHELTER FOR LIFE, INTERNATIONAL
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for the opportunity to address this body. Thank you also for the leadership that is being provided, the innovative thinking. I support what President Bush is advocating in the context of a Marshall plan for Afghanistan. I think the level of commitment and sacrifice evidenced there will be equally fruitful if we can engage as a country and get behind this. I support the discussion, to date bipartisan discussion by people such as Mr. Kemp and Madeline Albright, and even the Chairman of this Committee, using this as a context for challenging ourselves to find solutions for problems like this.
I want to go in a little bit different direction, if you will allow me. My statement stands, as rough as it is. It is a draft essentially for the record.
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I would like to come on behalf of the Afghan people, with whom I have seen and experienced great things with over the years, and make an appeal to you for exactly what has been asked for by Mr. Nouri. They need our support, they deserve our support. It is in our national interest to get fully behind them in a bigger way than we have. And I do feel that there are some serious ways in which our policies and practices have not delivered those kinds of services as quickly or as substantially as is needed.
The war against terrorism is a war that is going to be fought ultimately in the hearts and minds of people, and what the people of Afghanistan think in the long run is as important as the government of Afghanistan. If we are serious about building a civil society that is by the people, for the people, and of the people, then the people ought to be the focus of our attentions, our efforts, and we ought to evaluate our successes and failures, at least in part, on how their practical lives change as a result of our efforts and innovations.
Most Afghans know nothing about America. They do not realize that we have been their biggest benefactor for years. That is common knowledge here and in the international circles, but the face they see is the U.N. They probably think the U.N. or an NGO is their benefactor. And if we want to win this battle as a nation, that has to change somewhat. We need to address this problem and reach out to the common man.
In my written statement I have tried to make a case for following this initial victory in some practical ways, with programming that will actually pact people. In particular, housing. As the director of an agency that is primarily involved in providing housing, it is an item that is conspicuous in its absence in every case, except at the most basic and emergency levels, for many kind of development or emergency-response programming funded by the U.S. Government.
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This is a serious problem, because people need more than just a plastic sheet over them if they are going to become contributing members and stakeholders of a civil society. A home is probably the most significant investment that many of the people in this room have made in their lives. It is the things that links us, and makes us stakeholders in our communities. It is a vehicle that provides an anchor of personal wealth, and it is something that we ought to seriously consider when we underwrite and advocate programming for Afghans, as well.
If we do not, and if we do not address some of the lack of coordination and the ways in which aid is delivered, I concur with the opinions of the esteemed panel today, that we have probably a limited amount of time, and that the ultimate outcome might not be what we fought this war to achieve.
I do not agree with them, however, and say that there is nothing we can do about it. There is nothing we can do about it? We must do something about it. We have to rise to this challenge and do better than what we are doing and the attention of this particular body and others in government to the details of what is happening on the field, the evaluation of programming that is going on to make sure that the maximum benefits are actually percolating down to the common man is a vital component.
Security is an issue in Afghanistan, but security is more than just a military phenomena. It is a social phenomena, it is an economic phenomena. And it is something that needs to be addressed at the grassroots level.
It is interestingand I am thankful that you have brought Mr. Nouri to speakthe level at which our policies and practices are guided by experts, but not Afghans. I would encourage you to continue in the direction that you are moving. The Marshall plan is a great concept.
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There is an Afghan proverb that says when you meet a man one day, he is your friend; when you meet a man the next day, he is your brother. And I say if we are going to win the war on terrorism, we need brothers in Afghanistan, and not just friends.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Leatherwood follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF NORMAN C. LEATHERWOOD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SHELTER FOR LIFE, INTERNATIONAL
Warm greetings to Chairman Hyde and other respected members of the Committee on International Relations, their staff, panelists and guests. It is an honor to be invited to bring testimony as spokesman for Shelter for Life, a Wisconsin based private voluntary organization serving the people of Afghanistan through relief, employment, and construction programs. Our history with Afghans dates back to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, when millions fled across the border into Pakistan. In recent years we have worked as a US government partner, initially in response to terrible earthquakes which devastated rural regions in the north, and to fighting between Taliban and Northern Alliance forces. In the months since US military intervention and the fall of the Taliban regime, more than 900,000 Afghans throughout the country have benefited from programs implemented by Shelter for Life, in partnership with USAID, the Department of State, and other bilateral and private donors. ''Thank you'' , on behalf of those who were helped through these and other interventions authorized and underwritten by members of this Committee and the larger Body of Representatives to which it belongs. Thank you, also, for the opportunity to speak.
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In a speech given on April 17 of this year, President George W. Bush referred to the post World War II Marshall Plan as both measure and model for ongoing US commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. First proposed by Secretary of State George C. Marshall in June of 1947, the Marshall Plan in Europe and its corollary under General Douglas MacArthur in Japan have much to teach us about confronting the realities of massive economic devastation in far way places, and the residue of hostile ideology in the rebuilding of social and political institutions in cultural contexts foreign to our own. We can learn much as nation, as well, about the long term rewards we might enjoy from sacrificial investment in others, and about the benefits of sustained collective action predicated upon the wisdom and best efforts of all stakeholders, both at home and abroad, whether giver or receiver. Two years earlier in a 1945 speech, President Harry S. Truman had stated that ''if Europe is allowed to remain cold and hungry'', that ''the foundation of order upon which the hoped-for world peace'' rested might easily be undermined. The same could be said of Afghanistan today. President Bush has pledged an equally determined effort to provide the Afghan people resources and expertise ''to achieve their aspirations''. ''As George Marshall so clearly understood, it will not be enough to make the world safer. We must make the world better,'' said President Bush, in reference to the war against terrorism.
Clearly, speeches and smart-bombs are not enough to win this war. It will never be won by a handful of professional warriors and bureaucrats, in spite of the abundance of wisdom, weapons or wealth at their disposal. In the end, it must be fought and won in the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, and wherever poverty, oppression, and ignorance prevail, and the fallacies of the terrorist worldview go unchallenged. As the events of 911 have taught us, this war threatens all freedom loving people and especially Americans, although the battlefields may be half a world away. Victory will cost every American, and will require sacrifice, commitment and time.
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Mr. Chairman, you invited me to share my perspective on how the Afghan people view our governments' efforts at rebuilding Afghanistan. You asked that I address both positive aspects of the United States effort, and any notable weaknesses in our strategy or its implementation. This I will try to do, although I do not claim to be an authority on Afghanistan, to have all of the facts, or even contend that all of my observations and conclusions are correct in every case. I am concerned, however, that we risk losing the war we claim to have won in Afghanistan, and not because people are not trying or that they do not mean well.
Security concerns are real, threatening both the delivery of humanitarian services, and the long term viability of the current Afghan government. The targeting of foreign humanitarian workers and the general lawlessness in some isolated areas are serious concerns, although it should be said that these have not become chronic and country-wide trends. In some of the areas of the north and west considered to be outside the transitional governments' sphere of influence, the atmosphere is actually much better than in Kabul or in other areas of the country both for our work and for common Afghans trying to rebuild their lives. However, it is hard to imagine that a fair and comprehensive registration and voting process can possibly occur country-wide by next year without a larger measure of outside enablement and scrutiny. I join my voice with those of others who advocate an increased presence for peace-keepers in the outlying areas, especially if that presence takes on a more international appearance. Perhaps NATO is an appropriate option.
Security is not only a military issue, however. It is a social and economic issue, as well. More troops in the hinterland are not enough to ensure a democratic future for Afghanistan, or to correct some of the problems I see. I believe that gaps exist in US government interventions and strategies in Afghanistan, gaps that could undermine US credibility and interests in the region and diminish the prestige and viability of the current government. If ignored, these issues may hinder Afghanistan's progression toward prosperity and democracy, and prolong the suffering of the Afghan people.
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Furthermore, we have now committed ourselves as a nation to rebuilding civil societies in three major areas of the world-Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine. Our experience in Afghanistan will serve as template or impediment to our success in other areas. Innovative thinking, extra effort, and greater investment in Afghanistan is needed now, coupled with careful examination of what is working and what isn't working and why. These will also serve our interests elsewhere and into the future. I believe that post World War II programs and policies in Europe and Japan are a good place to begin. I commend the bipartisan efforts and discussion thus far, including that which has occurred before this Committee, and the leadership shown by President Bush in calling us as a people to squarely face and overcome the challenges we face as a nation in our world today.
You ask how Afghans view our governments' efforts. The simple answer is that many had high and perhaps unrealistic expectations for a quick transition to a normal and better life. These expectations, for the most part, have gone unfulfilled. In early 2002, UNHCR estimated that about 800,000 refugees would return to Afghanistan by the end of the year, planning programs and appealing for funds accordingly. The actual number returning was nearer to 2,000,000. The UN agencies, donors and providers were astonished and overwhelmed by the number and pace of Afghans coming home from abroad, to say nothing of the 400,000 or so who migrated back to their communities of origin from elsewhere within Afghanistan when the Taliban fell and fighting ceased. Both donors and providers gave superlative effort at responding to the needs of the 2.4 million people involved in this massive migration. The reality, however, is that only a fraction received the kind of support they needed or had adequate resources on their own to rebuild their homes and livelihoods in many communities damaged by years of drought or conflict.
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Failure to enable conditions for sustainable reintegration into rural areas has led to movement towards cities in general and Kabul in particular. A study funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) described a population increase in Kabul from 1.7 million in 1999, to 3.3 million by early 2003. The result has been a severe housing shortage that threatens to intensify, dramatic increases in rent, overcrowding, and related impacts on sanitation and hygiene. Even large families live in one or two rooms, and many live in damaged houses, often squatting where owners have not yet returned. An additional 1.3 million people are projected to return in 2003, although preliminary indications are that rates of return are slower this year. This is due in large part to poor conditions for return, inadequate support from donors, or sufficient means on their own for sustaining life and livelihood.
Although the economy and opportunities in Kabul have grown significantly since 2000, housing has been cited as the single most urgent need by both UN and Afghan government sources, and the lack of it is creating ''a number one health, sociological and psychological hazard''. According to one study, widows and women-headed households are the most affected by the housing crisis. In a sample survey of twelve widows involved in a cash-for-work program in Kabul last winter, 100% identified housing as their greatest need, and said that with adequate housing their lives would improve and become more stable.
Currently, the only US government funded programs focusing on the housing needs in Kabul are targeting provision of a warm room necessary for winter survival. Many of the most vulnerable in Kabul city are not even eligible to receive this type of assistance, because of tenure issues related to living in informal settlements or in damaged houses which don't belong to them. The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) estimates that 17% of the returnees moving into the city have no claim to land and no means to rent. This number does not take into account the very poor who are being displaced by the large migration into greater Kabul. Widows and others among the most vulnerable are included in this category, and many are settling in abandoned buildings, parks or in other spontaneous settlements all across the city.
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New land must be made available immediately, as well as increased support for housing and livelihood in rural areas, in order to not to compound the already huge problem of informal, squatter settlements. MUDH has identified two locations on the outskirts of the Kabul , and SFL supports and wants to work to support this effort, but where are the funds?
How do Afghans see us? Very few have any idea that the US has been their largest supporter with food and funds for years. Most likely think the UN is their benefactor, or perhaps the NGOs, since these are the most visible foreign faces they see. Until recently, relatively few Americans were present in either community. For the most part, most Afghans are unaware of our ongoing pattern of good will towards them, and some may have heard much to the contrary from authoritative voices close to them. They don't read the Washington Post or watch CNN to listen to speeches, nor are they learning much elsewhere about our history, values and our own concepts of our role in the world. Of the 1.8 million Afghans assisted by UNHCR to return home last year, less than 300,000 were literate or had any level of education whatsoever. Certainly they connect us to the fall of the Taliban and perhaps to the earlier defeat of the Russians, and we are clearly linked to the current transitional government in Kabul. The power of air strikes sent an unmistakable message, and the faces that guard President Karzai are American faces. Apart from humanitarian workers, what they see of the US is very little apart from our soldiers, our fortress embassy in Kabul, and a handful of our citizens, usually from behind the glass of expensive vehicles or in establishments they would never enter or be able to afford. It should be said that our military has represented us well, however. Compared to the Russians who preceded us as outsiders with guns, the message has gotten through for the most part that our fight is with Al Qaida and Taliban, and that we are not hostile towards the common people of Afghanistan, their culture or their way of life.
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RECOMMENDATIONS AND ANALYSIS
What the majority of Afghans ultimately will think of the US government and our efforts on their behalf will be shaped by two things: the nature and scope of their personal contacts with American people, things, and ideas; and, the degree and extent to which their personal lives and prospects for the future are changing for the better in the unfolding scenario of US-supported political and social change in Afghanistan. My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that current US policies and programs in the region do not go far or fast enough on either count. Soldiers, diplomats, and professional government administrators, especially when they have little real grass-roots contact with Afghans and rarely move outside Kabul other than in very controlled circumstances and settings, are not sufficient to convince the average Afghan that Americans are their friends. At the obvious risk of sounding self-serving, the point needs to be made that Americans in the NGO community have been our best and only option in this regard.
Housing and Home Ownership
Regarding housing, allow me to point out that private ownership of property directly links to a society of ordered liberty and individual rights based on the rule of law.
Mr. Chairman, there are gaps I see in the US government funding strategies world wide which impede our efforts to address the single most significant need identified by the residents of the most populous, most significant urban center of what we hope will become a democratic Afghanistan. If Mr.Karzai does not prevail in Kabul in the coming election, he will not prevail at all. The benefits of social change must trickle down to the common man in a one-man, one-vote democracy or leaders will be voted out. Although it is at least among the most critical felt needs, no agency of the US government currently responsible for administering our foreign aid budget in Afghanistan sees Kabul housing as their responsibility. Why is that?
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Most fingers point to USAID as the most appropriate agency to address this need, but with the exception of disaster, displacement, or dire life-and-death circumstances in which shelter appears within the mandate of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, USAID is reluctant to address housing on its own merits as an appropriate development activity in Afghanistan, or elsewhere for the most part.
In a most succinct and compelling document, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios outlined four program elements in USAID's Afghanistan Recovery and Reconstruction Strategy: revitalizing agricultural and other livelihood options; enhancing educational opportunities; improving health; and strengthening Afghan institutions to assure stability. Although a case could perhaps be made for the funding of housing in support of the first objective, in this document , housing is conspicuous in its absence as it is in other USAID development phase program statements. While repairing clinics and building schools, roads and related infrastructure are specifically mentioned as fundable activities in support of USAID's recovery and reconstruction objectives, building homes for people to live in is not. This is most curious, since it is only within the composite clusters of houses in which people communally live, that any semblance of context or meaningful purpose for the construction of schools and clinics is created. In reality, people congregate and remain where they have permanent, secure homes. Housing dominates and energizes the scope and placement of other structures related to health, sanitation, education, transport, and so on, and not the other way around. Furthermore, it is in itself a critical factor in health and psycho-social well being. If we want to help Afghans recover and rebuild, we must help them rebuild their homes, as well as their livelihoods, infrastructure, and social institutions.
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Permanent and adequate housing is a critical element to individual security, social stability, and to sustainable development. Building houses builds wealth through the creation of a capital asset which has value, and can be used to secure credit or other undertakings. Housing produces enormous economic impacts, both immediate and long term, as our own and other developed economies clearly show. Is is for America alone that the number of housing starts, building permits, and mortgage loans are key indicators of economic health and growth? When a house is built, construction materials are purchased, paid labor is utilized, and conditions are created for ongoing spending into a local economy as home is maintained and improved. Each point of activity generates positive ripple effects through the economy of a community and region, and contributes to economic growth and vitality as money is earned and spent. Experience in developing countries clearly shows that the facility itself often enables income generating activities when homes are provided or improved. In one OFDA funded project last year following a major earthquake in the mountains of northern Afghanistan, SFL helped 5000 families build earthquake resistant, two-room shelters within a five month period before winter snows began to fall. Not only can these shelters serve as ''starter-homes'' for expansion when families are economically able, 54% of the families were using them for some sort of home based enterprise. Homes are a building block in every healthy economy, and we need to start building them in Afghanistan, as fast and as many as possible.
Private ownership of property directly links to a society of ordered liberty and individual rights based on the rule of law, as stated earlier. Shelter creates a stimulus for political stability and democratization through giving owners a stake in their society and motivation to participate in their government. The development of the English and American systems of law can be directly traced to the development of property law as it progressed from feudalism, through the signing of the Magna Carta, into the framework of the US Constitution. Is it not in our interest to encourage and enable the same opportunities for the people of Afghanistan, if our goal is a stable and prosperous democracy in that land? Building houses is also directly linked to the generation of tax revenues which support and stabilize local governments, and contributes to a society's sense of security and well-being. Homes and home ownership are building blocks of democracy. If we want to see a democratic and stable Afghanistan, we need to help Afghans rebuild their homes.
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NGO Role and Participation
Empowering American NGO efforts and activities in Afghanistan is in our interest as a nation, and can serve to enhance US credibility and strengthen the reach and effectiveness of the central government through its constituent ministries in the outlying areas where the Karzai government is weakest. This is especially true when programs result in notable improvement in life and livelihood as measured by the common man. Remarkable impact was achieved in the months that followed the collapse of the Taliban through US government initiatives together with their implementing partners, in spite of adverse and trying circumstances. Unfortunately, however, the scale, range and commitment to partnership and support of American voluntary agencies is diminishing under the current program and administration of USAID development assistance in Afghanistan, as is becoming more common in certain settings with respect to USAID's administration of development program portfolios. And although we all hope that US private sector presence and investment will increase in coming years, to date both have been pretty much confined to Kabul, and it is likely to remain that way for a while.
Furthermore, one must ask whether awarding one huge contract in the hundreds of millions to a private sector contractor is a better way to accomplish our national objectives in allocating and distributing foreign aid for Afghanistan, although the staff costs may be lower and the work of grant management less for USAID. The capacity to manage and spend more does not mean necessarily that more is being accomplished for less, or that the end user is better served by what is being provided. More needs to be said and careful cost/benefit analysis of this increasing trend is warranted. Both are beyond the scope of this testimony. It might be good to remember, however, that the Russians are said to have spent $1012 billion each year during their time in Afghanistan. The skeletons of tanks and vehicles which rust beside the road north from Kabul all the way to former Soviet border remind us that vast amounts of money and might will never alone prevail in Afghanistan, apart from the heartfelt support and participation of its' people.
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Opportunity now exists for Afghans to begin to close the door on war, hatred, ignorance and poverty, and to enter into a more prosperous and peaceful future. It is both right and good for America to support this process. Opportunity exists for America, as well. Will we succeed in rebutting the lies and lifestyles of terrorists, not just through words but through deeds, not just by fighting to protect democracy, but by making life better for every Afghan? May God help us to rise to the test, and to prevail in the real war in Afghanistan.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Leatherwood. Mr. Sifton.
STATEMENT OF JOHN SIFTON, AFGHANISTAN RESEARCHER, ASIA DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Mr. SIFTON. Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to testify today. My statement is in the record, so I am not going to bore you with reading it over.
But I will say that what it does is suggest some of the things that can be brought up with the Administration witnesses who, at a later time, are going to be testifying before you.
Our latest research which we have conducted in Afghanistan shows a deteriorating human rights situation. We will issue a report in July, 2003 which will describe many of our findings. All I will do is summarize some of them right now.
As some of the people who have preceded me said, most of the country, most of Afghanistan now is in the hands of warlords and gunmen, fighters in Afghanistan's past wars, who are now terrorizing local populations under their authority. And robbing houses, stealing people's valuable possessions, killing people, raping young women and girls, raping boys, seizing land, extorting money, kidnapping, and holding people for ransom from their families.
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I have interviewed numerous families myself who have been robbed in the night by Afghan military forces. And I have listened to witnesses describe being beaten by troops, and begging them for mercy. These are the types of abuses that need to be brought up with the government, the Administration's witnesses when they are called to come before you.
But sadly, these abuses are really not the ones that are the most serious for Afghanistan's future. I think in the end what the Administration really needs to be challenged on is the fact that these abuses are creating serious implications for a free society in Afghanistan.
Right now in many areas, Afghan civil society organizers, political organizers, women's rights activists, are now terrified of the warlord rule, and it makes it impossible for them to speak or organize openly. And many political organizations now operate in secret. Journalists in Kabul and elsewhere are censoring themselves.
As you know, Mr. Rubin said earlier, a journalist was arrested on Tuesday night. It is not an uncommon phenomenon. That is a very brave journalist. The reason he was arrested was he was challenging warlords. Most people are not that brave.
So the situation, to put it mildly, does not bode well for the upcoming elections. And this is another thing the Administration should be challenged for.
But really the worst consequence by far is the effect of the insecurity on the lives of women and girls. And this is something the Administration I feel really needs to be questioned on.
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Here in the United States, Administration officials and even the President himself have repeatedly said that Afghanistan has been liberated, and noted that girls have gone back to school. The reality is more sobering. In many areas of Afghanistan today, insecurity is, in fact, forcing women and girls to stay indoors, and is depriving them of the opportunity to attend schools, go to work, or even seek health care in clinics and hospitals.
Mr. Rubin mentioned that the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is one of the highest in the world. It is true. We have talked to countless families who affirm that they are unable to get to hospitals because they are afraid to take to the roads in Afghanistan.
As for education, the U.N. is now estimating that 32 percent of school children in Afghanistan are girls. That sounds like good news; however, population statistics in Afghanistan show that the majority of school-age girls in Afghanistan are not in school. The majority of school-age girls in Afghanistan are not in school. And UNICEF estimates that in some provinces the attendance rate is as low as 3 percent.
And the reasons, in many cases, are security-based. Some people think there is a cultural reason for these types of things; our research does not support that conclusion. In many provinces, Afghan families tell us they are not letting their daughters go to school because they fear they will be assaulted on the roads on the way to school, kidnapped or raped. Many say they want to send their daughters to school, but cannot.
But let me talk very briefly at the end about what we are talking about. We are talking here about human rights abuses, not about crime. And it is important to realize that the implicated parties, the perpetrators, are the gunmen who the United States Government armed to defeat the Taliban. This very much makes it the United States' responsibility to deal with the problem.
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I also want to say, in my statement I have brought something up which is extremely important. These words we are usingwarlords, warlordismthey are not mine, but these are the words of Afghans themselves. These are Persian and Pashtun words translated into English.
In Persian, jang salar, warlords. Tufangdar, gunmen. Jang salari, warlordism. These are the words Afghans themselves are using to describe those who terrorize them, and this is the vocabulary of Afghanistan today.
You have heard from other witnesses about the need for increased peace-keeping. All of that, it is in my statement. I completely support all of those, and urge you to bring those up with the Administration.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sifton follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF JOHN SIFTON, AFGHANISTAN RESEARCHER, ASIA DIVISION, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
My name is John Sifton, and I am the Afghanistan Researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Thank you for allowing me to testify today.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 I want to take this opportunity to tell you about the latest research Human Rights Watch has conducted in Afghanistan, in the last six months, research in provinces across Afghanistan, based on hundreds of interviews with ordinary Afghans-farmers, teachers, laborers, doctors, aid workers, women and men. The results of this research will be published in a report to be released in July 2003, but I will describe many of our core findings here.
We don't have good news.
Human Rights Watch believes that human rights conditions in Afghanistanwhich of course had improved dramatically with the collapse of the Talibanare now in a state of deterioration.
Our most recent research shows that, in many districts and villages in Afghanistan today, families are now living in a constant state of fear. Most of the country is in the hands of warlords and gunmenfighters in Afghanistan's past warswho are now terrorizing local populations under their authority, robbing houses at night, stealing valuables, killing people, raping young women and girls, raping boys, seizing land from farmers, extorting money, and kidnapping young men and holding them until their families can pay a ransom. The situation is of course different in each district, but in almost every district Human Rights Watch has visited in the last six months, we have heard complaints about some or all of these types of abuses.
I have interviewed numerous families myself who have been robbed in the night by Afghan military troops or police, and listened to witnesses describe being beaten by troops, and begging for mercy.
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But sadly there is more: our research has also uncovered cases of Afghan military commanders and officialsincluding high-level Afghan government officialsthreatening and arresting journalists and political organizers, and beating or even torturing perceived opponents. I have interviewed myself several people who were tortured by Afghan government security forces, for organizing dissident political parties or groups. My colleagues have interviewed women who have been threatened with death for advocating women's rights.
Of course, these abuses are bad enough on their own, but their consequences for Afghanistan's future are even worse.
In many areas, Afghan civil society organizers, political organizers, and women's rights activists are now terrified of the warlord-rule, which makes it impossible for them to speak or organize openly. Many political organizers are now operating in secret. Journalists, in Kabul and elsewhere, are censoring themselves. The situation, to put it mildly, does not bode well for Afghanistan's upcoming constitutional loya jirga or elections in 2004.
The continuing instability is also keeping many refugees in Iran and Pakistan from returning home. We talked to many returned refugees, who were stuck in Kabul city, unable to return to the more dangerous rural areas. ''We wish we had stayed in Pakistan,'' some of them said.
The worst consequence by far, however, has been the effect of the insecurity on the lives of women and girls.
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Here in the United States, administration officials, and the President himself, have repeatedly said that Afghanistan has been liberated, and noted that girls have gone back in school.
The reality is more sobering. In many areas of Afghanistan today, insecurity is in fact forcing women and girls to stay indoors, and is depriving them of the opportunity to attend schools, go to work, or even seek health care at clinics and hospitals. We talked to countless families who affirmed this.
Today, the U.N. estimates that only thirty-two percent of school children in Afghanistan are girls. Population statistics in Afghanistan are always somewhat hit or miss, but under even the most conservative government estimates, it is clear that the majority of school-age girls in Afghanistan are not attending school. UNICEF estimates that in some provinces, the attendance rate for girls is as low as three percent.
Why are girls not in school? Some people think there is a ''cultural'' reason, having to do with entrenched Islamic conservatism. Our research does not support such a conclusion.
Instead, the reasons in many cases seem to be security-based. In many provinces, especially around Kabul, Afghan families tell us that they aren't letting their daughters go to school because they fear they will be assaulted by gunmen on the way, kidnapped or raped. Many say that they want to send their daughters to school, but cannot, because of insecurity.
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Let me be clear about what we are talking about with all of these abuses: We are not talking about crime here, we're talking about human rights abuses by government forces: warlords and gunmen who ostensibly work for the Afghan government. We are talking about abuses by the leftover militias of the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban forces, the irregular military forces who work in some areas with the United State military, and the current police forces made up of former military personnel. These forces were the allies of the United States in its war against the Taliban regime, and were armed, assisted, and enabled by the U.S. government.
These words we use''warlords'' and ''warlordism''are not mine but those of Afghans themselves. They are Persian and Pashto words, translated into English: in Persian, the words jang salar, warlords; tufangdar, gunmen (topakyan in Pashto); jang salari, or jang salarism, warlordism, the rule of the gun. These are the words Afghans themselves are using to describe those who terrorize them.
And this the vocabulary of Afghanistan today. This is the result of the Taliban's totalitarianism being replaced by the violence and cruelty of unfettered warlordism.
You have heard from other witnesses today about the need for increased peacekeeping outside of Kabul, for more U.S. involvement in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former fighters (including a better vetting procedure, to sideline those with abusive pasts), and the need for funding for policing forces. Human Rights Watch seconds all of these recommendations. We also think that the U.S. should insist that the United Nations increase its human rights monitoring efforts.
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But we would add that there is also a need for the U.S., and all other nations involved in Afghanistan, to cut off support for the warlords themselves. We urge specifically the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agencyall of whom are cooperating with local military leaders in Afghanistanto take better steps to avoid strengthening local military leaders.
As it stands, the United States has a split strategy in Afghanistansupporting Hamid Karzai on the one hand, but cooperating with local warlords to hunt former Taliban on the other. Indeed, U.S. officials have for the most part just stood by and allowed local military leaders to seize control of local governmental officesnot only military bases, but health departments, trash collection offices, transportation ministry officers, and so on. This is not a good policy. Oftentimes, it seems that U.S. military and intelligence officials have assumed that, because Afghan forces are helping them, these forces are good and honorable people. This is an untenable view.
One last point: At some time in the future, the situation in Afghanistan could very well explode. When that happens, it is more than likely that most people in the world will not blame the United Nations, or the people of Afghanistan. They will, however, blame the United Stateswhich has been involved in Afghanistan's internal affairs for almost a quarter century.
It is vitally important for the U.S. administration to take action now to avoid such an outcome, and we strongly urge all of the members of this committee to urge them to do so. The U.S. must give more support to President Karzai in his efforts to bring warlords under control, and make better efforts to cut off the warlords themselves.
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I will end with the words of a displaced Afghan man from a rural area who told us he was unable to return to his home district because of the security problems there. He told me:
The gunmen, who have guns in their hands, are irresponsible forces. The United States, in a way, brought them to power, and it is these gunmen who create problems now for our people. These people must be disarmed. This is the foremost, most important step to be taken, immediately. Guns must only be given to those who have been trained. You must raise our voice to the United States, to disarm these people.
I very much hope I have done so today.
Mr. ROYCE. Well, we really appreciate all of your testimonies here today. We are going to do that, Mr. Sifton.
In terms of the schools in Afghanistan, I did have the opportunity when I was in Afghanistan to visit a school in Kabul, one which is one of several supported by Mr. Nouri. Myself and others have served on the board of that school for the last 5 years. I thought I would share with you just the observations of the children in that school, as I asked the children what their intentions were in terms of their career.
One young man said, ''I wanted to be an engineer. I want to go and study and become an engineer.'' And a young woman stood up. She said, ''I want to be a doctor. I want to go to Kabul University and learn to be a doctor.''
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Now, most of the physicians in Afghanistan before the war were women. I asked her why, and she said, ''Because I want to help my people.''
Now, there is security in Kabul, but there is not outside of Kabul, where the warlords hold sway. And that is one of the reasons for this hearing.
I wanted to recognize Dr. Zieba Shorish-Shamley, who is with us today. I would like you to stand, if you would. She has appeared on my cable show. Would you stand up? And would the other women here in solidarity with you, with the Women's Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan, could I ask all the ladies here to stand for a minute and be recognized for your work?
Mr. ROYCE. We want to recognize your efforts.
I think with respect to Radio Free Afghanistan, which is one of the avenues which women have right now to speak on a daily basis across Afghanistan, we have two women ministers that were elected as part of that government. Their voices are carried on those radio broadcasts.
There is an attempt here to offset what has been the consequences of the rule of the Taliban, and to reverse this process so that the historical role of women in Afghan society, in teaching, as physicians and so forth, is restored.
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But Mr. Sifton is so right. A fundamental impediment of that is the security problem.
I was going to just bring up another way to engage for a moment, because Mr. Hasan Nouri has a strategy in terms of Afghan teams, soccer teams. The teams would play in the United States, and U.S. teams would play in Afghanistan, again to unite the country behind the concept of teamwork. We remember the days when Kabul Field was converted from a soccer stadium into a killing field, where women were brought on public display and executed under the Taliban for their violations of the decrees that were put down by the Taliban. Well, the goal is to return soccer as a national pastime, and I just thought I would give Mr. Nouri a chance to explain that concept.
Ms. WATSON. Mr. Chairman, if I might at this point before we go on to the sports. You introduced the young lady there. Would you be kind enough to give her a moment to report on what she sees in the aftermath? I would so much like to hear from her.
Mr. ROYCE. I am glad to yield to the Congresswoman from California and give her an opportunity to do that.
So, Zieba, could I ask you, if you would just take the seat next to Mr. Nouri and speak for a moment? And then we can go to Mr. Nouri.
Ms. WATSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. ROYCE. Zieba Shorish-Shamley.
STATEMENT OF ZIEBA SHORISH-SHAMLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S ALLIANCE FOR PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN AFGHANISTAN
Ms. SHORISH-SHAMLEY. Thank you for the opportunity, thank you, Congressman Royce. You have been our friend from the beginning. The time that nobody listened about the Taliban, you did. I thank you for that.
The situation of Afghan women has not really improved. Yes, they have the right to go to school, they have the right to work, they have the right to see a doctor, they have the right to go outside without a male in tow.
However, it is all symbolic. And what we want is the full restoration of women's rights as equal to men. And we want women to be involved in every aspect of reconstruction of Afghanistan, the government of Afghanistan, as well as economic, political, and others.
What our concern is with the writing of the constitution. If the constitution is not based on the U.N. charters and international law, we are afraidwe are not against shiria, we support the Koran; however, it depends who interprets it. It is all the question of interpretation. In the Koran the women and men rights are equal.
But unfortunately, throughout history, the rights of women have been abused because the controller of the knowledge, the religious knowledge, has been men. Therefore, we want it to be based on U.N. charters, international law, and the context of Islam. So that is our concern. The way it seems, the constitution, really, nobody has seen it, and it is hush-hush. And we want the people and the women of Afghanistan to have the right to write their own constitution, and to write it based on all the laws that are accepted in the world.
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Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. And we will ask if you would submit a statement, Zieba, for the record afterwards, as well.
Mr. Nouri, explain your concept for engagement on the soccer front.
Mr. NOURI. Yes. Mr. Chairman, soccer is the international language. We are working with your office, and we are working with the office of Congressman J. D. Hayworth from Arizona, to form a tournament for the youthI want to underline the youth, not the professional teamsthe youth from Iraq, Afghanistan, and United States to play a series of games across America. And I want to remind you, when we form the team, you can rest assured it will not be divided along the ethnic lines.
With that concept, we are progressing the American Association of Engineering Societies, having 700,000 membership in America; American Society of Civil Engineers, having 135,000 membership in America; World Federation of Engineering Societies, having 8 million membership around the world. And all of it under the Win the Peace Alliance, will be managing this soccer tournament, the Afghanistan/America Foundation, Win the Peace, an Iraqi charity organization which we have to determine, and of course the International Orphan Care, with support from Fund Flow, will be managing this soccer tournament. And we hope we get help from your office and Congressman Hayworth's office.
Mr. ROYCE. Well, it is a worthy endeavor. We are going to go to Mr. Sifton now.
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You were on the ground along the Afghan/Pakistani border. And one of the issues that I would like to talk with you about is the influence of ISI, the Intelligence Service of Pakistan, on what is happening in terms of Taliban-type incursion over the border; whether or not you think that we are getting cooperation from the ISI and from Pakistan in terms of ending the incidents of groups that are in western Pakistan, that were once Taliban, returning to create unrest in Afghanistan.
Mr. SIFTON. Actually, I will take this opportunity to raise a point about something which is a little bit more worrisome, which is the fact that some of the government officials who work with the Afghan authority now are at the same time working with local leaders who are former Talibs themselves.
You know, many of the commanders in the southeast never shared the ideology of the Taliban, but joined them for survival reasons. And then, after September 11, switched back to the other side. Some of the Taliban officials are still in power.
There are a spate of attacks on girls' schools that are going on throughout the southeast right now. And in many cases, the people responsible are former Taliban and Hesby-Islami fighters who may or may not have the support of Pakistani ISI agents.
But more worrisome to me is the fact that in some provinces, the local military commanders who are cooperating ostensibly with the United States are, in fact, allowing some of these attacks to take place; are sort of giving some refuge to the former Talib and Hesby-Islamic people right in there.
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If you go to Ghazni today, for instance, there are former Talib officers in the streets of Ghazni in plain clothes. And you can pretty much bet that they would not be there unless the local authorities were condoning their presence. That is a very worrisome
Mr. ROYCE. Do you think this would be a strong argument for continuing the process of expanding an Afghan National Army, with training, to replace the regional forceswarlords, basicallythat exist throughout Afghanistan today?
Mr. SIFTON. Yes. I think the biggest concern right now is that local security is being put into the hands of local militias, about whom the United States does not really understand. Some of those are getting assistance from the United States. I mean, we are worried about ISI, but you have to understand that some of these have received assistance, and are continuing to receive assistance, from the Department of Defense, Department of Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency.
It is a very worrisome thing when you have these local commanders who can take money from Iranian Sipa Pasteran. They can take money from CIA, they can take money from other people. You have various actors who at the same time are buying allegiances. That is a very worrisome situation, because it is strengthening them. It is strengthening them.
Mr. ROYCE. Right. And looking at the long-term solution to this, it would seem the only long-term solution is an Afghan National Army properly trained and equipped by the international community.
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Mr. SIFTON. The long-term solution is absolutely a central authority, whether it is the Army or whether it is more police. Professor Rubin brought up earlier today the notion of a central police force; that also should be explored.
We do not want an army policing the streets of the United States. I mean, in the long term you really want the police. But again, these are long-term goals. In the short term, I agree with all the other participants that the need is for an international peace-keeping force.
Mr. ROYCE. An international peace-keeping force and a constitution which guarantees the rights of everyone, including women. A constitution which is an international constitution, enforced by that national army, under a centralized government in Afghanistan.
Mr. SIFTON. In the long term, absolutely.
Mr. ROYCE. I mean, they can federalize the system, but you cannot have a successful system where you federalize the army. That is not going to succeed.
Mr. SIFTON. But you are not going to have any system if the elections cannot go forward in a free and fair manner.
Mr. ROYCE. Right.
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. SIFTON. And as the situation stands now that is not going to happen. And the only way it is going to happen is if the international monitoring, disarmament peace-keeping monitoring, all of that goes forward. That is the need in the short term, absolutely.
Mr. ROYCE. Dr. Watson.
Ms. WATSON. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. Would it be helpful if we took a codel over to Afghanistan to find out just what is going into this constitution, that will guarantee all persons, as the Chairperson just said, their rights, and particularly women?
I am intrigued by what is going on in the aftermath of the war in Afghanistan, and what you say is happening, and how women themselves are feeling about their freedoms. So I think what would beand I would like some comment from the Chairpotent, would be to go over there as an official delegation from the House of Representatives, to follow up on the development of the rights of all Afghan people, and the rights of women. And how those rights are going to be protected. And when those rights are violated, what the consequences might be.
And I think just hearing it from abroad like we are hearing today is not good enough for me. And as I understand you, Ms. Shorish-Shamley, but it is not good enough for you, either. You have not had input, is that correct?
Ms. SHORISH-SHAMLEY. There are some women on the committee or commission. But really, to be 100 percent honest with you, it is controlled by men, and it is written by men.
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And the other thing that recently it was in the news, other problem is that some people, I do not know whether it was Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, one of them reported that the people are very angryno, International Crisis Groupreported that people are unhappy because they are not consulted.
So the constitution of the people, by the people, for the people really does not exist. A few people are writing it, and a lot of people have not seen it.
Ms. WATSON. Well, let me conclude my part by saying that I would hope that the Chair and the Ranking Member would agree that we should follow up.
I think part of the problem we are facing in the Middle East with the countries where we have been involved is that the follow-up has declined. And if we want to see peace and stability and unity, whatever that is, we are going to have to be present.
And as you say, you need to have your input. And women need to have their say. We love our men, but we, as women, love ourselves, too. And we should be consulted. We should be part of the drafting, and part of the approval process. And if we are not involved all the way, then I do not think it will be legitimate, and it will not be authentic, and it will not be enforced.
So I am making a strong suggestion, Mr. Chair, that we do take a codel over there. I am volunteering to lead it, and I want you to come with me, too.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Thank you very much.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I could not be happier to accept your invitation. And Mr. Faleomavaega, would you like to proceed? Would you like to be recognized?
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You are so recognized.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I am sorry, my apologies for not being here earlier to listen to the statements of our witnesses. But I am sure they probably covered pretty much of the same ground that we had discussed earlier with the previous panel.
And initially also, Mr. Chairman, I want to associate myself with the comments made earlier by the gentlelady from California, Ms. Watson, regarding the whole problem involving our foreign policies toward not only to this specific nation of Afghanistan, but even to other regions of the world, as well. I readily admit, Mr. Chairman, and I want to give my personal commendation and accolade. Probably no other Member of Congress knows more about Afghanistan than you, Mr. Chairman, whom I have had the privilege of traveling with on a previous occasion on the borders of Afghanistan, even though we were in Basul. I did take a shower there, as well.
But Mr. Chairman, I think in giving our
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You might mention who you slept with that night.
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Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Yes. With a 45-caliber pistol.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I got the shotgun.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. You had the shotgun, I had the .45. But I think if we are ever to get a better perspective in terms of our country's interest with nations of the world, this is one situation that I think it is just the way things are, and it is so difficult. Not wanting to be boastful or trying to say that our country is so important, but the fact is that many countries of the world are constantly trying to get our country's attention to their interests.
So there is always that basis where countries are wanting to share with us their problems, and hopefully receive help to solve the problems that they are faced with.
But I think most Americans will associate Afghanistan with what had happened when the Soviet Union unilaterally sent a whole bunch of divisions in the military force to occupy Afghanistan. The Soviet Union's experience with Afghanistan came about in the same way that our experience was with Vietnam.
I think this speaks well to the character of the people of Afghanistan. These people are warriors. They love to fight, just like the Irish people and the Samoans. They love to fight. And to this day, my understanding of why we have different warlords and different clans, and are constantly at each other's throats, is the simple reason that they are very independent-minded people. And probably least of all, they do not like to be told by anybody in terms of how to run their affairs.
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If we are to give some perspective on exactly what drew our country into Afghanistan, I would venture to say in my humble opinion, it was not for some real humanitarian purpose. It was because we were attacked on September 11, 2001, when some 3,000 innocent people were killed, or murdered, if you will, by acts of terrorists. And I think this is what opened the whole door in terms of our country's efforts as to say who did this.
The first name that came about was Osama bin Laden. And where was Osama bin Laden? He was stationed in Afghanistan. I think one thing led to another. This is what drew our country into war, not with Afghanistan but the Taliban, the al-Qaeda elements, and trying to find Osama bin Laden.
And next to establish some kind of a democratic government, knowing that these factions continued to exist, and these warlords are still fighting among themselves even after the Afghans kicked out the Soviet Union. And I cannot help but remind the Members of the Committee, probably one word that speaks quite well were the statements made earlier by Dr. Rubin, the situation that we find ourselves in right now in Afghanistan, and that word is security. As long as the situation exists where there is no real unanimity or consensus even among the warlords to have a democratic form of government, I think the current President or the Prime Minister is going to continue having problems.
It is obvious that our own intelligence community continues to have a very difficult time. We cannot even find Osama bin Laden, let alone we cannot even find Saddam Hussein. We seem to be going parallel in terms of what we are doing right now with Afghanistan, and what we are now experiencing with Iraqagain, the same problem of security.
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I would be the last one to say, Mr. Chairman, with our soldiers continuing to be shot at like sitting ducks in Iraq, some 150,000 soldiersand I do not know how many soldiers we now have in Afghanistan, if anybut the problem of security continues to be, in my humble opinion, the number one concern that I would have. I do not think it is going to be possible for the people of Afghanistan to be united to establish a democratic form of government. I am very curious about that.
I am sorry, I think I see the red light, Mr. Chairman. I did not mean to speak overtime.
One thing that I want to say is that I am really, really happy about the fact that the women of Afghanistan are given a much better status than what they were given under the extreme or orthodox views of the Taliban, where they were under the rule of whatever form of government they had established there in Afghanistan.
One question I would like to ask the members of the panel. Am I off in my assessment in saying that security is the number one problem right now in Afghanistan? You do not need to tell me about the heroin and the drug trafficking, because that is happening also in Asia. But I would like to ask the members of the panel, am I off in my assessment that security is a very serious problem right now in that society?
Ms. SHORISH-SHAMLEY. It is. And you are right. And we have been asking for the expansion of security forces beyond Kabul. That is the only way we can disarm the warlords and the armed militias.
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But unfortunately, nobody is listening to the observation of the Afghan people. So unless there is expansion of security forces until the Afghan military is formed, and the police force is formed, we need that force in order to control the warlords.
As well, I want to also add that we also want the Congress to help us to push for an inclusion of women, Afghan women, in the armed forces and the police, as well as national army, and someday international force.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. All right, thank you very much.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. May I pose a quick answer?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You certainly may.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Thank you very much. I just would like to offer one not opposing voice, but a contrasting voice. I think from the standpoint of Americans or outsiders, perhaps security is the number one issue; it is the most glaring and obvious thing that intrudes the pursuit of our goals in the country.
However, from the standpoint of the common Afghan, it is poverty and absolute deprivation. And many of these people have been absolutely victimized by war, devastated by drought. They have nothing. And they are not being given adequate support to go back and rehabilitate their lives.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 If you were to ask the bulk of those, and if they were the ones voting, I doubt that security would be their primary concern.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much. And the Chair now, we have to be out of here at 3 o'clock, so the Chair will take the prerogative of having the time to ask questions. Maybe, I guess I am batting clean-up here, or whatever it is, to come at the very end.
I apologize for not being with you for the whole hearing. I was with you in the beginning. And I certainly agree with Mr. Leatherwood, that security is something that derives from other factors. It is not simply a goal that you achieve in and of itself. You can have security in a prison, you can have security in a concentration camp; what good is that? You can have security where everybody is so weak and hungry that they cannot stand up. What kind of security is that?
Security in Afghanistan, and I think in most places, there is a direct link between the security and stability of a given area, and the economic viability and the economic well-being of the people of that area.
People who are prosperous, even Afghans who like to fight as you say, will refrain from certain aggression if they feel comfortable with their lives. And they do not want to riskAfghans, like anyone else, they do not want to risk their children. They do not like to fight if their children are going to be killed. They do not. And the agony of the Afghan people over these 20 years has been something that the American people did not understand. And millions of people lost their lives, and millions of others were maimed.
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Children to this day step on land mines that we have the mujahudin to plant in order to defeat the Soviet Union. And when we walked away the first time, after the Soviets were defeated, it was a crime. We were not going to be secure, and we were not going to have our own safety, unless the Afghans had some sort of modicum of justice and stability, and yes, economic well-being in their own lives.
A couple thoughts. And first and foremost about the economic well-being. And I understand your testimony has pretty well suggested that things are not going as well as they should. And from what I understand, I characterized it earlier in the hearing earlier today as anemic. And my understanding from those people who are there is that what we have got is a commitment from the United States, but an inability to break through the bureaucratic barriers of making it real.
Is that what you see? Or do you see a lack of fundamental commitment? Go right ahead.
Mr. SIFTON. I actually believe that the primary problem remains the need to lay a framework of human rights protections and security.
Solving problems with bureaucratic hold-ups, the constitution, the political machinations of the upcoming elections, may only be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes, I was thinking more of the economic arena, where instead of having the huge amount of reconstruction that we envisioned, that I envisioned would take place after a year, it seems to be less than substantial.
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Mr. SIFTON. But even if the money was there, it would be very difficult for most agencies, whether international agencies, U.S.-funded agencies, or anybody else, even private agencies, to actually implement reconstruction on the ground. Because it is literally impossible to travel safely, for both Afghans and international, to many places in Afghanistan.
On top of that, the beneficiaries of these programs are staying behind in urban areas, in many cases. I think you can say as well as I can that
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Let me note this, that I was in Afghanistan 1 month ago. And I drove across the country myself, all right? Now, I do not know what that means. But if someone wants to help the people of Afghanistan, maybe they have to be willing to drive across the country. And maybe there is a reason to be afraid, but I will have to say, by my reading, more people were killed in Los Angeles County last month than were killed in Afghanistan.
Mr. SIFTON. There is no way of knowing, because the international community is not monitoring in many places adequately. I mean, it is like a tree falling in the forest.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I will tell you, I drove across Afghanistan. I did not see this chaos. And certainly there are evil forces at play. If the NGOs do not want to take a risk, maybe they should stay home and decide to let other people who have a little bit more guts to go out there and start helping people.
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 The bottom line is helping people sometimes takes a risk. And I will have to say, having driven across the country, like sleeping in bed with a .45 automatic or a shotgun when we were there on the border.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Chairman, they were afraid of you. That is why nobody
Mr. ROHRABACHER. They were afraid of me. But let me, I would just suggest that I did not see this. And I think that it is disgraceful that we haveif, indeed, we have permitted a few evil groups that are organized here and there to cower what should be a multi-billion-dollar effort to reconstruct that country, we should be ashamed of ourselves.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Just one sentence, Mr. Chairman. The biggest concern that I have right now on behalf of our country is that our commitment to Iraq now is so intense, at the expense of Afghanistan's needs, and this is where my fear lies. We are paying more attention to Iraq, and I do not think we are giving as much attention as we should to Afghanistan.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, let me suggest this. I am reclaiming my time. I do not think that is the reason why it is not happening in Afghanistan. The President has made it very clear that he is maintainingin fact, his big speech on Iraq included a part on Afghanistando not worry, we are not going to forget you.
But it is not happening, for some reason. It is not happening because the President does not want it to happen? No, the President wants it to happen. And there is something, maybe it is the fear on the part of the NGOs, maybe it is the fear of the bureaucracy. Maybe it is just plain inertia for some reason. But we do not have a situation where money is being infused into the bottom level of Afghanistan.
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If we come in with big construction projects, and hire people at $10 a day, you will have an economy there, because someone will be able to pay for his family. If you do not have that job for that person, that wealth will not be in that society. And the only source of wealth that I have seen, by this hearing and others, is what? Drugs. Drugs. That is not a healthy way to build a society.
Let me go on. By the way, let me note this. All this talk about the warlords, and I do not know which warlords you are talking about, but I will say this. The non-warlords in the southern part of the country were sympathetic to the Taliban, and were our enemies, you know. And Dostan, Atta, even Fahim, who there are some questions about him and the way he is handling himself nowbut these were peopleand Ismail Khanthese were people that defeated the Taliban, who slaughtered thousands of American lives.
Just keep that in mind, if you are an American. They came to help us defeat people who slaughtered our own people. And I am grateful for that. And I am not about to label them in these pejorative terms, especially when the Taliban are still on the border being helped by the Pakistanis to kill Americans and other people. Taliban are right over the hill, and already we are going to label the guys who helped us get rid of them as the bad guys? I do not think so. And I would admonish, I would admonish the people who are involved in Afghanistan not to go so quickly in getting rid of people who helped us to defeat the Taliban, when there are so many people who were supportive of the Taliban who are still around.
And I think the best way to go, Mr. Rohrabacher's suggestion is let us make sure that we have elections that are internationally supervised, so that these supposed warlords are as unpopular, and if they are gangsters who are keeping control through fear in those local areas; if Ismail Khan really is not accepted by his people, if Dostan really is a guy who is not accepted by his people; let us make sure those people have a right to vote in secret ballots. That is our job, with our troops outside and throughout the country, with the United Nations and the rest of the people there. Let us let those people vote and determine who their local leaders are going to be.
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And if they do not vote for Ismail Khan, and they do not vote for Dostan, let us let them elect whomever they want. But at this time, I have heard a lot of negative posturing about people like these people, who happen to have been the guys who sided with the United States.
Sure, go right ahead. We have got a couple minutes. Let us have a little dialogue.
Mr. SIFTON. Two things I will just say very quickly. About the choice for elections. It is going to be extraordinarily difficult for people to vote freely, or even vote at all, when they are unable to even feel safe going outside of their homes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Oh, come on, wait. Don't tell me that. I just got back from Afghanistan. That is baloney. That is absolute baloney. You know, I drove across that country. Don't tell me people are afraid to go out of their homes, they are not. They are not afraid to disagree with people either.
There is some level where people, of course, have to be cautious. But that is just utter baloney.
Mr. NOURI. Mr. Chairman, if I may interrupt.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 2 Mr. NOURI. A country that has been at war for 25 years, I can buy 100 votes for $10. The warlords do have the money, and they can threaten to get votes, and they can buy votes.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. It is almost as bad as some of the cities in our country, I have to admit that. That is why we should not have elections in Chicago, I guess.
Let me put it this way to you. It has never been pure in the United States, it has never been pure in any democracy. That is not a reason not to have elections. And for people who are suggesting that local people cannot elect their own leaders, they are setting up a scenario for continued violence and continued animosity.
If we end up having a police force that is being led by people who are appointed by some outsider, there is going to be a lot of problems in Afghanistan, just like there would be in any other country, including Iraq.
Mr. Leatherwood, you had something to say?
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. I did. Let me just say that there are many, many people, hundreds of thousands in Afghanistan who do not have homes to go out of. And that is a critical problem in Kabul. It has been repeatedly identified as the single most significant felt need.
The highest numbers and categories of vulnerable people are widow-headed or women-headed households who are in this condition. They are living in parks, in abandoned buildings, in destroyed houses that do not belong to them. And we cannot get a penny of support from the U.S. Government or any of their constituent agencies.
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So there are enormous gaps in the funding strategies, in the way those strategies are being administered. And I am sorry, it is not just a security issue with soldiers. It is about
Mr. ROHRABACHER. As I say, I could not agree with you more. And on top of that, you do not have to wait until there is absolute security to initiate a massive reconstruction effort. I am sorry if the NGOs are afraid to come out of their buildings; I think it reflects the NGOs being afraid, not the Afghan people.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. It is regional. I mean, the things that he is saying about Ghazni and Kandahar are absolutely correct. But you probably drove up in the north.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. That is right.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. And we have had Americans, women, living there for years without ever having any incident or any sense of problem.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Correct, correct.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. There is lawlessness, but it is not
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Correct. And let me note that it is in the north where all these warlords are that they are going to eliminate, and it is in the south that supposedly they do not have the warlord problem like they do in the north.
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Mr. SIFTON. Mr. Chairman
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Wait 1 second, because we are going to be out of here in a couple minutes.
What about the drug problem? And I am sure people must have asked about this before. Can the United States go in andthere are ways we can eliminate those crops, but of course we have to make sure we give these people a source of income.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Alternatives.
Mr. SIFTON. To be clear, I mean really, we can do anything. I mean, I am not advocating anybody stopping anything, stopping elections, not going out.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Mr. SIFTON. And the NGOs are going out, by the way, they really are.
What we are advocating is ways that the United States and the international community can improve the reconstruction effort, improve the elections, make them better. And I am saying why not? Why don't we improve them to be the best that they can be?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, let me know this. When I came in you were talking about how important
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Ms. SHORISH-SHAMLEY. Congressman.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. One second. When I came in you were talking about how important centralization is. Now, I do not know if you have ever run for election, or you know the dynamics of how the electoral process works in various countries around the world. You may even know better than I do. I happen to have run for election and understand how some of these dynamics work, and I have participated in various parts of the world in setting up the democratic process.
Centralization, this idea that centralization causes stability is, I mean, it is exactly the opposite of what reality is. But it is really a cliche that everybody will accept.
Now, you may be an expert on how to build hospitals, or I am not sure what your specialty is. I know you have a human rights specialty. Certainly we cannot accept any society where someone feels that they are going to get beat up, or their wife is going to get murdered or raped, if they disagree with the tough guy who is in charge of the local community.
But centralization is not, does not create the dynamics where that tough guy disappears. Unfortunately, in Afghanistan we had great leaders, like Commander Massoud and Abdul Hawk, who were vibrant, and they cared about their people. And they were Pashtuns, and they were Tajiks, and they are wonderful people. We have been at war for 20 years, and so many of these wonderful people who would have provided good leadership are dead. Abdul Hawk is gone, Massoud is gone. These are guys I knew.
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And just centralizing power in Kabul, and manipulating it so the majority clans will feel comfortable, you know, rather than having the Tajiks be able to have their own militia, or Dostan over there, or Ismail Khan. The centralizing power is not going to create a positive dynamic in that society. In the end it will have the opposite effect, and tear it apart.
Ms. SHORISH-SHAMLEY. Congressman, I agree with you 100 percent on the local autonomy of the people to make their own destiny. A centralized government has really not worked. I agree on that issue. History has proven that.
The security and the destabilization of the Afghan situation right now, you have got to keep in mind that Russia, India, and Iran have gone to one camp, trying to destabilize, supporting certain groups. And Pakistan and Taliban and al-Qaeda. So it is a reality. And that is why, again, we are asking for the expansion of security forces until our own army, that is the Afghan army is trained and the police force is trained.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Well, just to be clear, I am in favor of an Afghan army, independent. I am in favor of demobilizing the warlord armies and working into that. And I think that we have to be very careful about what is going on on the border now.
Look, we heard the testimony, 90 percent of the heroin is coming from the Pashtun areas, basically in the south. We know that up in the Panjsher Valley they have got some problems, as well. But 90 percent. And that is, a lot of that drug money is going into the same Taliban hands and al-Qaeda-type people that threaten the entire stability, threaten to undo everything that has been done. So we have got to be very cautious. Making sure we have a military presence throughout the country would be good, and phasing out these warlord armies by giving their men something to do with their time. You cannot just say we are going to eliminate the warlord armies; you have got to give those men a way to lay down that gun and pick up something to build their society.
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Mr. LEATHERWOOD. Very briefly, can I just give a quick anecdotal example?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Sure, go for it.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. We had two opposing warlords in one area that we were working near Kesham, where the earthquake was, and they were fighting each other. There was no contact that they had with one another. They belonged to different factions.
But we built a road through there, actually with cash-for-work money that was supposedly directed at poppy eradication. But in the context of building that road, there was a common objective that both of these men and the people that they were supported by could see.
In the context of coming together around the building of that road, these people learned to work together, and now they are not fighting. They are working together to build a better community.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Right.
Mr. LEATHERWOOD. This is one other way, other than just outside force, for addressing the problem of warlordism.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. As I drove across Afghanistanmy wife was with me, by the way, in this carwe saw something, a group of young people, kids, over here. And we said we have got to stop here; stop, stop. And it was sort of in a big, not a valley, but sort of a gorge area. And there was an old, just destroyed building there, and you know, these burned-out tanksand I do not have to tell you that Russian burned-out tanks are all over the place. By the way, that might be a source of scrap metal that we can build some industry around; you know, melting down those tanks and selling that scrap metal.
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So here we went over there, and there was a couple hundred kids in this ruin. And they had literally restacked the rocks so they could sit there, and they were teaching each other how to read. What a magnificent sight. What a magnificent tribute to the determination and the character of the Afghan people. Their children were there teaching themselves how to read, and how to do numbers.
Well, we need to help them build a school. We need to infuse some cash into that society so that they can make money building schools and hospitals. And that will help bring peace. And rather than just these schemes of how to reorganize the government by centralizing power in Kabul, and having somebody who we can manipulate being the head of the government, which is basically the planI mean, that is what that centralization talk is all about.
I would like to put in the record a letter that I have sent to the Administrator of USAID here and Andrew Natsios. And this is just, as we close this hearing, I am very concerned that United Nations humanitarian air service flights are excluding American military personnel who are not armed, our chaplains, our medical officers and people like that. Our civil engineers and civil groups that are going out, civil affairs groups that are going out in the country have been excluded from the United Nations humanitarian air service flights.
This is absolutely ridiculous. We are funding some of the NGOs that are opposing our own troops and our own people getting on this plane. We are not militarizing those flights. And I just, for the record, if I see NGOs who are trying to strike out and just slap America gratuitously like this, those NGOs are not going to get any funds out of this Committee, and I will make sure they do not get it out of AID.
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You know, our people are there to try to help that country. And especially those who are in the civil affairs groups, who are going out trying to locate projects to do and help people, let us get them out there. We want them out in the countryside.
One last thing. I was so inspired, as well, when I met with groups of women in Afghanistan. Let us not forget that the Talibanand remember, the King had such a, he was trying to evolve this society out of this horrible discrimination that they have had against women in the past. Zahir Shah was going in the right direction, and then we had the communists come in, and then the Taliban, and you know, Hectmactiar Golbadin and the rest of those bad people.
The women now have a chance in Afghanistan. This is time for us to, more than anything else, show our solidarity with the women of Afghanistan. This is their moment. Because if we do not do it now, it is never going to work. I mean, if we lose now, it is back to the old dark ages.
I went there, and I was so proud that we had spent money making bakeries and giving them to the widows of Afghanistan, letting the widows own the bakeries and earn their own living. It is terrific. And this is important.
Let us never forget that what happened on 9/11 happened because our government decided that they were going to cut a devil's deal in the creation of the Taliban. Our government, with the Saudis and the Pakistanis, created the Taliban. And then we did not do anything to help the women, as they were being brutalized. We did not help any of the other people. Our government did not lift one finger to help when they should have realized that the Taliban were as evil as they were, and it came back to hurt us. When you do something immoral, it comes back to hurt you. And the United States, by not helping the people of Afghanistan by their inaction, were operating in an immoral way.
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It is up to us to make sure that we set the right path, not only for Afghanistan, but for the United States of America.
Thank you very much. This hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon at 3:15 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
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