The participation of Hamid Karzai in the meeting of the Valdai Club in Sochi did not cause any reaction in the press. Meanwhile, what the former Afghan president said deserves close attention. In fact, he urged Russia to help liberate his country from the American occupation. What position can Moscow take in this regard?
"During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Afghanistan became a hot spot of the Cold War, or, conversely, the war became hot precisely in Afghanistan. Although, on the one hand, the USSR tried to introduce communism in Afghanistan - the Americans and their allies helped our resistance, especially Pakistan, they tried to use our resistance ... But they tried to turn us into an extremist country in order to use religion as a weapon against THE USSR. Therefore, they provoked our resistance to the USSR and said that until the last Afghan they will fight with the USSR.
The end of this conflict led to two losers, namely the USSR and Afghanistan. Both our countries have suffered very badly. "
So said on Thursday about the Afghan war 1979-1988 Hamid Karzai - then in the ranks of opponents of the USSR, and later, already under the American occupation, headed Afghanistan. At the meeting of the Valdai Club, 59-year-old Karzai was sitting at the right hand of Vladimir Putin. And immediately after the Russian president made a big speech - which, unfortunately, did not provoke a reaction from the experts gathered in the hall. Karzai remained in the shadow of Putin - meanwhile his speech contained very important messages addressed to Russia.
I must remind you who Karzai is. He 13 years led Afghanistan: from the time of the American invasion and until the autumn of 2014, when the last presidential elections took place, on which he no longer had the right to be nominated for a third term. With Putin, Karzai has been familiar for a decade and a half, since 2002. And now the ex-president remains one of the most influential politicians in Afghanistan. After all, he headed Afghanistan largely because he was the leader of one of the most powerful clans in the main tribal alliance of the Pashtuns, the main people of this country. The Americans made a bet on him and brought him to power. Then, with this "choice", other Afghan tribes and peoples were reconciled.
In addition, of course, the Taliban, who did not recognize the American occupation and retain control over a large part of the country. At first, the Americans tried to fight against the Taliban themselves. But then, convinced of the impossibility of defeating them, began, on the one hand, to pay off from local field commanders, and on the other - to try to shift the brunt of the fighting to the official Afghan army.
The war between the Pashtuns in power and the Pashtuns in the Taliban naturally did not please the Pashtuns themselves, so the Americans did not achieve any successes with other people's hands. By the end of the zero years it was clear that it was necessary to leave Afghanistan - and this was promised by presidential candidate Barack Obama.
But neither he nor Trump, who succeeded him, did this. True, Trump announced that the Americans would focus on combating the supporters of IGIL * in Afghanistan and would involve the Taliban in the negotiations, abandoning attempts to build Afghan statehood (that is, from interfering in the affairs of the country).
Immediately after the August speech of Trump Karzai, albeit the rank of ex-president, he sharply criticized him. Because he has long been trying to become more independent - the longer the rules Karzai, who was initially both a puppet and an influential figure, the more independent of the Americans he became:
"I strongly oppose the new US strategy towards Afghanistan, as it contradicts the national interests of the country," Karzai said in an interview with Izvestia. "I am categorically against increasing the role of private military corporations in the American campaign in Afghanistan." This violates national sovereignty and the constitution, prolongs the conflict and intensifies the bloodshed in Afghanistan. "
And now Karzai arrived in Sochi. His speech was a direct appeal to Russia - to help convince the Americans to admit that they were defeated in Afghanistan:
"Today I am one of the main critics of US policy in Afghanistan, not because I'm a critic of the West, in fact I am a Democrat by conviction, I have a Western education and I like their culture. But I am against their policy, because it is not successful and because it leads to a huge number of problems and the rise of extremism, radicalism and terrorism.
I am against US policy, because under their supervision and with full control of our airspace, our military all this superpower in Afghanistan, IGIL appeared. How could such an appearance occur in 14-15 years after the US appeared here, with all the resources and money? Why now there is no international cooperation with the US in Afghanistan, as before?
I am now in Russia. Russia has doubts about the work of the US in Afghanistan. Why does China not see this in the same way? And Iran has problems with US operations in Afghanistan.
Thus, as an Afghan citizen at the center of this whole global game, I propose the following for our US allies. We will all be successful if you tell us that you have failed, and we will understand, Russia will understand, China will understand this, Iran, Pakistan, they will understand everything, and India will understand. We see all the signs of failure. But if you do not recognize this, then such a game will not be finished. "
That is, Karzai suggests that the US recognize its defeat in Afghanistan. And although he does not speak directly about the withdrawal of troops, it is clear that this is what is meant:
"The only way forward is this: the United States in Afghanistan must begin to observe new conditions for interaction with our people.
The United States in Afghanistan must once again work with our neighbors and with the great powers of the world - first of all China, Russia, India - with the help of key, understandable, transparent goals. Given this, the international community must support the Afghan mechanism for resolving all those problems that exist.
Today's mechanism, the best, available to us is the Supreme Council of the Afghan people, or Loya Jirga ... I hope that since the Russian president is here and we expect a lot from our friend, a historical ally and neighbor, that Russia will work more actively with the US and with the West on the issue of Afghanistan, will extend a helping hand to Afghanistan so that we can create our own mechanisms to resolve the problems that exist. "
Karzai never said the word SCO. But it is clear that this organization, which includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan, all the Central Asian countries, the neighbors of Afghanistan, should become the guarantor of national reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Roughly speaking, Karzai asks Russia to promote an intra-Afghan settlement. After all, while American forces are in the country, there can be no question of any full participation of the Taliban in power. The US is for the Taliban invaders - and they must leave, or at least announce the forthcoming withdrawal of troops.
Is Russia ready for a more active role in Afghanistan? Naturally, a short time after the American invasion of this country in Moscow, they began to suspect that the real goal of Americans is simply to gain a foothold in the center of Eurasia. At this key point, allowing if necessary to put pressure on Iran, China, and Russia (through the countries of Central Asia). And although the presence of Americans was tolerated, but every year, more attention was paid to both the situation in the country and the search for options for squeezing the US out of Afghanistan.
And for China, as well as for Russia, the issue of the American presence in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly painful - neither we nor the Chinese need the eternal American bases, as they say, at our gates. In addition, Beijing has large views on both the Afghan interior, and, most importantly, the New Silk Road, running to the north and south of Afghanistan. To transport on it were calm, you need to pacify the country of the mountains.
This year, for the first time, Russia announced the need to withdraw American troops. Russian Presidential Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said that the United States needs to withdraw its contingent from a country that is in fact already a "global incubator of international terrorism": "
"Moscow never hurried the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. But since the US Army can not do anything, let them leave Afghanistan. The American campaign in Afghanistan failed. "
In response, Washington accuses Moscow of flirting with the Taliban, and even of supplying them with weapons - although everyone understands that the only way to an Afghan settlement is through the reconciliation of Kabul and the Taliban and the withdrawal of US troops. Hamid Karzai asks Putin to help speed up this process, forcing the Americans to admit defeat.