Sunday, May 18, 2008

NATO replays Russian record

From the BBC:

Is Nato repeating the USSR's mistakes?
By Alastair Leithead

KABUL, May 15 (BBC) ... The aptly named Zamir Kabulov first arrived in Afghanistan as a young Soviet diplomat in 1977 and has lived through the last turbulent 30 years of this country's misfortunes.

Now he is Russian ambassador in Kabul...

"There is no mistake made by the Soviet Union that was not repeated by the international community here in Afghanistan," Mr Kabulov said, listing the problems.

"Underestimation of the Afghan nation, the belief that we have superiority over Afghans and that they are inferior and they cannot be trusted to run affairs in this country."...

"Nato soldiers and officers alienate themselves from Afghans - they are not in touch in an everyday manner. They communicate with them from the barrels of guns in their bullet-proof Humvees."...

Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, a mujahideen leader and prime minister in exile during the 1990s, admits they failed in the years following the Soviet withdrawal.

He is now an opponent of the government who stood against President Hamid Karzai in the last election...

[A]sked how the Soviet occupation compared to today's mission: "To my opinion the ground situation is no different because the Soviets were imposing their Communist regime on us. The present forces - they are imposing their so-called democracy on us.

"They were wrong then and the present Nato forces are doing wrong now by killing innocent people - men, women and children."...

"They are winning the battles but losing the war," ambassador Kabulov said, explaining that things are even harder now than they were in the 1980s.

"The structures of government then were very much there and our task was very much was to support and to win loyalty - or, if you will, hearts and minds - but we had a working administration."

In Helmand province British forces in Kajaki are fighting from positions originally built by the Soviets... (link)
Russia's Ambassador Kabulov, quoted above, recently spoke to a Russian newspaper:
The longer NATO remains in Afghanistan, the worse it will be for them. But it would be incorrect to imagine Russia wants NATO out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, at any cost. We will not let them out of Afghanistan until they solve the problems they have created... (link)

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