‘Not all Afghan problems will be solved by US & NATO pull-out’
There's no point in expecting a fair election in an occupied country, but if the Afghans could be left alone perhaps they could find a way for a real secular government in the interests of the people, expert on Afghanistan Debra Sweet told RT.
RT: The Taliban is increasing its attacks ahead of the elections. Do you feel the voters will be scared off by this?
Debra Sweet: You know, I don’t have any independent contact with people in Afghanistan, but there has never been a time in the last 30 years that it hasn’t been an occupied country by one force or another and I can’t imagine that anyone expects this is going to be a fair election. After all, in the US, without being an occupied country, in the year 2000 we had elections stolen. So I think it’s very unwise for anyone to put much talk in this being the will of the people of Afghanistan one way or the other.
RT: Even International observers are reportedly being put off after a series of Taliban attacks on foreign targets. On top of that corruption is rampant. Can we trust the results?
DS: Well, international observers are connected to the US and NATO, and other countries will have their opinions, but the observers don’t create the conditions. It is the US military and NATO who have largely created the conditions in Afghanistan after spending $2 trillion on occupying the country. That sets the terms and I wouldn’t be surprised if people really tired of the US occupation end up voting for the Taliban in a certain sense just because they want the US gone.
RT: Washington's been accused of courting the Taliban and bypassing the Afghan government. Considering that attacks continue, why does the US use this tactic?
DS: I have no idea why the US government does what it does. It normally acts on what it perceives to be its own interests, which are never the interests of the people living in this country or the people in the occupied country, so let’s state that as a fact. It’s very dangerous for Karzai, who has hitched his horse to the occupying country for all these years. It’s very dangerous for anyone coming in to follow him and after all the situation is that the US made a puppet out of Karzai and a bunch of warlords, and they as a group never had the interests of the people of Afghanistan in mind, they were a bunch of thieves, killers, and they cooperated with a really fundamentally illegitimate unjust and immoral occupation of Afghanistan by the US and NATO. So there are no good guys in this election that I have seen.
RT: NATO troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Will Afghan security forces be able to maintain law and order on their own?
DS: I don’t know who the local security forces are. Nor does the US for that matter, nor does NATO. The US and NATO are largely pulling out and I understand they are worried about still being able to continue the drone strikes in Pakistan. They have a lot of problems with their pull out there. Apparently leaving billions and billions of dollars worth of war material, and they will be picked up by somebody else, no doubt, to make trouble in the region.
There is a world of trouble that everybody is in and most especially the people of Afghanistan who have had Soviet occupation, an occupation by warlords, by the Taliban, then by the US and NATO. If they could just be left alone, perhaps they could find a way for a real secular government that were in the interest of the people, but it would take a lot more struggle and fighting, I’m quite sure.
I don’t think one should expect that just by the US and NATO pulling out, all those problems will be solved, but I do notice that the biggest factor that people are looking for justice in Afghanistan and asking for “Will the occupiers just leave” and then they will be in the position to sort it out inside of Afghanistan.
RT: Karzai has been highly critical of the security deal offered by the U.S., which would leave an estimated 10,000 US troops in the country. How likely is a new government to accept it?
DS: Let’s look at the word ‘security’. Security for who? For the people of Afghanistan? The civilian deaths went up in 2014. It was at a very high level and it had to do with the wake of the surge of President Obama putting more troops in. The security is always the security of the occupying government, it is never the security of the people. And if that is our concern, once again, we have to demand that all the US troops get out of there. It is making the whole situation fundamentally less secure by having occupying troops inside the country.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.