Ahmed Wali Karzai, Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s controversial half brother, was shot twice in the head at point blank range by a trusted employee yesterday. The murder will surely cause more instability for Afghanis loyal to the President.
As reported in this column (read here) in April, Ahmed Karzai had well established links to drug traffickers, a reputation for ruthless corruption, and also links to the CIA.
He was assassination at his well-protected compound in central Kandahar during a routine meeting with petitioners and provincial contemporaries. According to friends at the upscale compound, there were more than 60 guests present at the time of the slaying.
While President Karzai tried to rebuild his brother’s reputation inside the country the past few years, Ahmed was never able to shake his connection with the illicit drug world and thug-like politics. Mr. Ahmed Karzai was reputed to have amassed a fortune of U.S. dollars since his return to Afghanistan from San Francisco to support his brother.
Ahmed Karzai’s killer, Sardar Mohammed, was immediately shot and killed by loyal bodyguards. Speculation surrounding Mohammed’s motivation for the assassination of President Karzai’s brother remains unclear. However, the Taliban did claim responsibility for the murder, but political leaders say there is no proof the Taliban was involved.
Just two hours after the news of his brother’s murder was delivered, President Karzai spoke at a joint press conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, confirming the assassination had taken place.
“This is the life of Afghan people, this sorrow is in every Afghan home, every one of us has this sorrow,” Karzai told his loyal followers.
Despite Ahmed Karzai’s tarnished reputation, the President relied heavily on his half-brother to control the crime-and-drug laden southern region of Afghanistan. Another issue that dogged Ahmed Karzai at home and abroad was the not-so-secret relationship he shared with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
It’s been reported that Ahmed Karzai was receiving customary payments for a number of shadowy services. This relationship with the U.S. was seen negatively by many Afghans in the southern part of the country. Yet it was his heavy-handed tactics that secured order despite resistance from the Taliban over the democratization of Afghanistan.
In an effort to reassure Afghan leadership, Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, released a statement regarding the murder of President Karzai’s divisive half-brother.
“I called President Karzai today to extend my deepest condolences to him and to his family on the death of Ahmed Wali Karzai. The United States condemns this murder in the strongest terms,” Clinton said. “For too long, the people of Afghanistan have suffered under the threat of violence, intolerance, and extremism. We join President Karzai in his prayer for peace and stability in Afghanistan and remain committed to supporting the government and people of Afghanistan in their struggle for peace.”
The American people remain solidly on the side of peace for the war-torn tribal nation, however, 58 percent of U.S. public want the soldiers’ home, according to a June 24-28 CBS News/New York Times Poll.
It is unclear if Afghanistan will ever become a democratic nation, but it is imperative that the Afghan people decide what kind of government they are willing to fight for.
The power vacuum created by the assassination of Ahmed Karzai will most definitely leave President Karzai’s government in a much weaker position when it comes to the Taliban – opening the door to even more instability in the war-torn region.
For Parts 1-5 of this series;
#1 U.S. troops fight and die to preserve Shariah Law in Afghanistan
#2 U.S. payments to Taliban & Afghan warlords threaten American/NATO troops
#3 Billion dollar corruption within the U.S.-picked Afghan regime
#4 Terrorism’s down payment in the form of drugs and U.S. aid money
#5 Obama begins to wind-down the costly war in Afghanistan
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Afghan President’s brother gunned down – U.S. opinion remains low – National Homeland Security | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/afghan-president-s-brother-gunned-down-u-s-opinion-remains-low#ixzz1S130Igmg
Afghanistan’s corruption is legendary (see Part 3 in this series). The war-torn tribal nation provides fertile fields for training terrorists and growing poppies, is home to al Qaeda, and is where the 9/11 plotters hatched their terrorist attack on America. But sadly, in the worst kept secret in Central Asia, the U.S. condones and encourages the growing of poppies, the base ingredient for heroin and cocaine. We do so, not to keep the poor farmers happy, but to line the pockets of the Taliban, warlords, and the Karzai government. In other words Americans are fighting and dying protecting the poppy fields.
According to Colonel (ret) Eugene Khrushchev (son of the former Soviet Premier) writing for the Salem-News.com, “What Secretary of State (Hilary Clinton) called the ‘best decision in the face of an array of less-than-perfect options’ has set in motion the worse-case nightmare scenario- a boon for the drug lords, a bane for the drug busters.” Colonel Khrushchev contends that America’s drug eradication policy is nothing more than a ruse. Instead it supplies criminal elements with the means to destabilize the Afghan government while destroying the tribal population to ensure terrorists sympathy in the region forever.
The incentive for narcotic trafficking is the $2.7 billion in annual sales, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). And in Afghanistan, the drug trade accounts for more than half the country’s entire GDP.
Making matters worse is Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government’s involvement. Afghan Parliament member, Amanullah Paiman has studied the illicit drug-trade and claims the government runs approximately 70 percent of the narco-fields. “The chain of narco dollars goes from the districts to the highest levels of government.”
Perhaps the most well-known trafficker is President Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai. A Newsweek article described it this way; “He (the president’s brother) is the unofficial regional governor of southern Afghanistan and leads the whole trafficking structure,” said a senior Interior Ministry official. However, Ahmed Karzai flatly denies any involvement in the drug trade.
One US argument for letting the farmers grow their lucrative poppy crops rings hollow. Skeptics point out that those farmers could turn to insurgents to earn a living without the poppies. The second focuses economic hardship farmers would suffer if they were forced to grow another crop. Both arguments are false.
The New York Times reported in July of 2008 that Afghanistan was already a narco-state. “Karzai had long opposed aerial eradication. Why? More than 95 percent of the residents of the poppy growing provinces of Helmand and Kandahar- voted for Karzai.”
“Poppy cultivation was becoming limited to the south, more associated with the insurgency and disassociated from poverty…UNODC convincingly demonstrated that poor farmers were abandoning the crop and that poppy growth was confined to the wealthiest parts … ‘poverty doesn’t appear to have been the main driving factor in the expansion of opium poppy’,” according to the NYT.
“UNODC shattered the myth that poppies are grown by destitute farmers…Eighty percent of the land under poppy cultivation in the south had been planted with it only in the last two years …these farmers didn’t need an alternative livelihood. They had abandoned their previous livelihoods…to take advantage of the security vacuum [which coincides with the UK military presence] to grow a more profitable crop: opium…Yet Afghan officials continued to say that poppy cultivation was the only choice for its poor farmers,” the UNODC states. The truth is the insurgents pay the poppy farmers an advance in pay to plant poppies, according to the latest 2011 report.
“The ‘starving farmer’ was a convenient myth. [NATO] …wanted to avoid any uptick in violence from [counternarcotics] strategy; even if the strategy would result in long-term success…the Taliban loved it because their propaganda campaign consisted of trotting out farmers whose fields had been eradicated and having them say that they were going to starve.”
The question of what to do with the poppy fields has plagued every commander in the now 10-year-war. A Newsweek article describes the fear of Afghan officials who fear, “We are losing the fight against drug traffickers. If we don’t crack down on these guys soon, it won’t be long until they’re in control of everything.”
The question remains will the program that started under the Bush Administration and continues with the Obama Administration be the albatross that sinks the war effort? Or does President Obama realize his mistakes and correct them before the American people cry foul?
Part five; Afghanistan- the counterinsurgency- will it work?
Part three; Billion-dollar corruption within the U.S. picked Afghan regime
Part two; U.S. payments to Taliban & Afghan warlords threaten American/NATO troops
Part one; U.S. troops fight and die to preserve Sharaih Law in Afghanistan
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Terrorism’s down-payment in the form drugs and U.S. aid money (part 4) – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/terrorism-s-down-payment-the-form-drugs-and-u-s-aid-money-part-4#ixzz1K6S2Zm9J
After reviewing Afghan custom records, the Wall Street Journal reported that during a three-year period more than $3.1 billion in U.S. dollars left Afghanistan through the airport destined for Middle Eastern countries like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. More than $3 billion has been shipped from a country the CIA Fact Book claims only collected $1 billion in taxes annually.
However, U.S. officials believe the number to be much higher. A senior U.S. official said one courier alone removed $2.3 billion in the second half of 2008 and into 2009.
Investigators believe the cash is being siphoned from legitimate Western aid programs and being declared, placed in suitcases and pallets, and shipped to safe havens with the knowledge of the U.S. and NATO officials. For example, NATO gave Afghanistan approximately $14 billion last year.
“More declared cash flies out of Kabul each year than the Afghan government collects in tax and customs revenue nationwide. It’s not like they grow money on trees here,” said one U.S. official investigating the corruption and Taliban. “A lot of this looks like our tax dollars being stolen. And opium (poppies), of course.”
President Karzai’s brother, Mahmood, who coincidentally is a U.S. citizen (under investigation for racketeering in the U.S.), contends it is the political opponents who are skimming money and sending it out of the country.
“Yes, millions of dollars are leaving this country but it is all taken by politicians. Bribes, corruption, all of it,” Mahmood Karzai says.
Even more perplexing is the fact Mahmood Karzai fears nothing and even dares the U.S. to investigate. “Let’s find out who is taking it. Let’s not go on rumors.” He continues to explain that he has talked with U.S. officials about this corruption and maintains his innocence when it comes to profiting from U.S. contracts.
Afghanistan’s Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal confirmed there is missing money at a press conference, “We do not even know about it. We don’t know whose it is, why it is leaving, or where it is going.”
Senior officials are complaining that money is leaving faster than anyone realizes. “You get boxes loaded on the back of airplanes. You get guys, literally, bringing boxes of cash onto the plane.”
Another method used to get money out of Afghanistan is the airport’s VIP area. Often the VIPs are driven straight to their planes where they load their cash directly on board and fly off, according to Afghan General Asif and U.S. officials.
General M. Asif Jabar Khail, the chief customs officer at Kabul airport, described a recent incident where he came across one VIP who was taking undeclared millions out of the country and when they tried to stop the VIPs flight to Dubai, they were met with fierce opposition from higher-ups in the Afghanistan government. “It came from very, very senior people. They told me there was an arrangement with the central bank and told me to let it go.”
President Hamid Karzai sees the money changing hands differently. “Making money is fine and taking money out of the country is fine. The relatives of government officials can do this, starting with my brothers. But there’s a possibility of corruption.” If this is true why does America and NATO continue to send billions to such a corrupt country?
Middle men just making a buck
The preferred method of money transfer in Afghanistan moves through “hawalas.” This is a system the Muslim countries have used for many centuries.
The rules surrounding the money changers or “hawala” are sketchy and the handlers keep track of millions/billions in a simple notebook. There is no electronic process for the centralized government to monitor the money exchanging hands.
According to U.S. officials, Afghan couriers reportedly name the hawala responsible for handling the first transfer of the money as well as the second handler accepting the cash in other countries like Dubai.
These hawala’s are the backbone of the Afghan financial sector and the State Department discloses that 80-90 percent of all the monetary matters pass through the primitive hawala system.
While this fraud is sure to anger the U.S. taxpayer, there is even more money being carried through Afghanistan’s porous borders. Afghan officials claim there is more than $10 million that crosses the border each day. This adds up to an additional $3.65 billion a year.
Officials agree that much of the insurgency money is derived from the illicit opium trade, as drugs have long been an easy way for rebels to earn the capital needed to fight a war.
Part four; Terrorism’s down-payment in the form drugs and U.S. aid money
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Most Americans would be shocked to know that THEIR government created an Islamic Theocracy subject to Shariah law when it developed the Afghanistan Constitution. (Link to Afghan Constitution).
That constitution establishes Afghanistan as an Islamic Republic subject to Shariah law: “We the people of Afghanistan With firm faith in God Almighty and relying on His lawful mercy, and Believing in the Sacred religion of Islam; Realizing the injustice and shortcoming of the past, and the numerous troubles imposed on our country; While acknowledging the sacrifices and the historic struggles, rightful Jihad and just resistance of all people of Afghanistan, and respecting the high position of the martyrs for the freedom of Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan is committed to Islamic Law/ Shariah Law as evidenced by Article Three, Chapter 1, “In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” Any doubt about the commitment to Islam is resolved by the oath of Supreme Court Justices… “In the name Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate I swear in the name of God Almighty to support justice and righteousness in accord with the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam and the provisions of this Constitution and other laws of Afghanistan, and to execute the duty of being a judge with utmost honesty, righteousness and nonpartisanship (Ch. 7. Art. 4).”
But what is this Shariah law the U.S. and its NATO allies are passionately supporting in lives and resources? “Islamic theology divides the world into two spheres locked in perpetual conflict: The House of Islam and the House of War. The House of Islam (dar al-Islam) embraces territory where Islamic law (Shariah) is the law of the land, while the House of War (dar al- Harb) comprises the rest of the world. The House of Islam is enjoined by Allah to make war upon the House of War until the latter is permanently assimilated into the former,” an excerpt from Shariah Law Definition – Religion of Peace, by Gregory Davis.
It continues; “The term jihad, which literally means ‘struggle,’ denotes the military effort to bring new lands into the House of Islam. While the state of war between the Islamic-non-Islamic worlds is sometimes hot or sometimes cold, it is permanent until Shariah law reigns over the entire planet.”
As with any nation building process, the U.S. government usually plays an active role is rewriting or constructing a country’s Constitution and the same is true in Afghanistan. In the past the State Department played a big role in establishing Russia’s Constitution after the Cold War. Yet, a call to the State Department produced coy words to deflect what input the U.S. made to Afghanistan’s new Constitution.
This vision for Shariah Law is shared by some Muslims in America. Check the website Shariah for America and read their plans to use U.S. laws to ensure the Muslim faith is followed worldwide.
It’s been a long war. Afghanistan is a tribal nation trying to transition to a “modern” nation through a small group of “globalists” and with the help of the all-knowing Western world. But what is it about the war-torn region that captivates the hearts and minds of the globalists that the people of Afghanistan are worth the cost?
History knows better. It doesn’t matter how long American/NATO troops occupy Afghanistan to enforce the Shariah Law based Constitution – the end result will be the same – more suffering and corruption. American troops are fighting the Taliban and other al-Qaeda sympathizers to establish an Afghan nation, but the Constitution Americans helped the Afghanis adopt mandates Shariah Law.
Meanwhile on the battlefield, U.S. troops display their heroic bravery and compassion in trying to make a difference in this tribal region. The 10-year conflict the American military has been waging is growing more and more unpopular. Currently only 39 percent of Americans think we are doing the right thing (an all-time low), according to a 3/18-21 CBS News Poll. Another survey from an ABC News/Washington Post Poll confirmed the American people are questioning the cost versus benefits of the war – only 31 percent want America to continue its Middle East wars. A big reason for the dwindling popularity of the Afghanistan War is the corruption within the government that U.S. officials have installed to bring democracy to the war-torn nation (see Part III of this series).
Insurrection in a fragile new country
As the old saying goes, ‘it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks’ and Afghanistan is no exception. The opponents to the “globalist’s vision” look for any event to protest the West.
“Clearly the Islamist agenda is to use any tidbit of information out of the West to try to paint America and the West as anti-Islam and anti-Muslim,” said M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a practicing Muslim.
Take Afghanistan for example, many say President Hamid Karzai was responsible for all the hype surrounding the burning of the Quran by a Florida preacher. Clearly the majorities of Afghanis do not own computers and aren’t glued to the smart phones loaded with social networking apps ready to start the next revolution.
However American leadership gladly complied with the corrupt rulers as they continually disparage westernized countries and incite violence.
The Quran burning episode should provide insight for Americans as the Afghan people embarked on a deadly three days of rioting; this unrest burdens the U.S.-led military against the Taliban.
Running the day-to-day operations of the coalition war is General David Petraeus, and he even scolded the insensitivities of burning the Quran. “Every security force leader’s worst nightmare is being confronted by essentially a mob, if you will, especially one that can be influenced by individuals that want to incite violence, who want to try to hijack passions, in this case, perhaps understandable passions,” Petraeus said. “Obviously it’s an additional serious security challenge in a country that faces considerable security challenges. This was a surprise.”
Petraeus also felt the Quran burning was “hateful, extremely disrespectful and enormously intolerant.”
In fact it’s been reported that the majority of Afghans learned about the Quran burning from President Karzai who condemned the act as “a crime against the religion and the entire Muslim nation.” He went on to demand the U.S. and the U.N. to bring the Florida pastor to justice. Karzai also insisted that Americans provide “a satisfactory response to the resentment and anger of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.”
President Barack Obama also weighed in and extended his condolences to the people who were killed by the protesters and said burning the Quran “is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.” But cautioned that there was no justification for attacking and slaughtering innocent people, calling it “outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity.”
It didn’t take long for the “peace loving” religious demonstrators in Afghanistan to recite the familiar mantra, “Death to America.” In the end the deadly protests claimed dozens of lives, including U.S. soldiers.
Moving forward, the threshold question that remains to be answered is whether Americans wish to continue fighting so Afghanis women can be stoned and caned or thieves can have limbs severed?
Part two of this series: U.S. Pays Afghan Warlords to kill American/NATO Troops
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.