Statement on the London Conference concerning Afghanistan and Pakistan
On 28 January 2010, foreign ministers from around the world will meet in London for yet another conference on Afghanistan. The conference will be co-hosted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, President Karzai and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The stated aim of the conference is for the international community to come together to fully align military and civilian resources behind an Afghan-led political strategy. Since 2001 there have been a number of conferences with each one adding to the misery for the people of Afghanistan. In 2001, when Western leaders ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, they talked of bringing peace to the region, accountable government, economic development, ending the opium trade and securing the rights of the Afghan people. At the end of the decade, the people of Afghanistan have been subjected to a brutal occupation, thousands of civilians have been killed and many Afghans have witnessed firsthand the West’s empty promises of freedom when detained and tortured at Bagram and Kandahar. The Karzai regime, thoroughly discredited by electoral fraud, incompetence, corruption and deals with brutal warlords, continues to be propped up by London and Washington. The opium trade is booming and Afghan politicians with close ties to the West are alleged to be wrapped up in it. There is no economic or industrial development and despite pledges of billions in aid there is little evidence of the rebuilding of Afghanistan that was promised. This eight year long folly must now come to an end. The following are some key points:
1. The war in Afghanistan is unwinnable as America has discovered to its cost since 9-11 and learnt so painfully in Vietnam. Past nations such as the Soviet Union have failed to win in Afghanistan and could not placate the Pashtun tribes. It is not without basis that Afghanistan is known as a “graveyard for empires”. The nature of the Muslims and the spirit of Jihad in the region mean that they will never accept to be occupied by foreign forces.
2. The war in Afghanistan, as claimed by Brown and others does not make western streets safer. British forces in Northern Ireland, Indian occupation of Kashmir, Israel’s annexation of Palestine did not and does not provide an iota of extra security for citizens of the occupying country. Occupation breeds greater resentment and hatred.
3. After eight years where much of the Afghan aid has been wasted in the pockets of private consultants and government officials, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world. With this kind of lamentable record, NATO shouldn’t be running a market stall, never mind a country with 28 million people.
4. It does not need 140,000 NATO troops and 190,000 Afghan troops to defeat 100 alleged al-Qaida operatives in Afghanistan. US National Security Advisor James Jones said there are less than 100 alleged al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. If al-Qaida is indeed the target, then according to most experts they are largely out of Afghanistan, with operatives now in Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia amongst other countries. If the mission is to occupy Afghanistan and the Muslim world perpetually then Western leaders should say so to their domestic populations.
5. The exit strategy assumes Afghan security forces will do NATO’s bidding and are ready to fight the insurgency, they are not. Western forces after Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have no moral authority to train anyone. It is clear from the increasing number of cases of Afghan security personnel turning their fire on NATO soldiers, that mutual trust is already breaking down as opposition to foreign occupation is deep rooted especially amongst the Pashtun population centres. If NATO has no viable exit strategy then it will preside over a permanent occupation which will increase fatalities as well costing hundreds of billions in additional costs.
6. Contrary to public statements, there is no international coalition worth its name. A 43 nation coalition which exists in name only, with 34 nations providing less than 1000 troops and 10, almost a quarter of the coalition, providing less than ten troops means this war is nothing other than part of Britain and America’s colonial plans in the Muslim world. Other nations including major European states by their paltry troop commitment and caveats are clearly demonstrating their indifference to this so called “existential” war.
7. The Zardari government has lost all legitimacy within Pakistan. The people of Pakistan are increasingly realising that the costs to the nation of growing destabilisation, greater insecurity and huge economic losses are significantly greater than the token aid received from the international community. The people of Pakistan are more than aware of the treachery of the Zardari government in surrendering Pakistan’s airfields being used for US drone attacks and providing logistical support for America’s war in Afghanistan. The invasions launched by Zardari in the Tribal regions under America’s pressure have only increased bloodshed and destabilisation in the rest of the country.
It is only with the return of the Khilafah (Caliphate) with its tried and tested political system can the cycle of violence come to an end and provide the much needed stability that the region deserves. Those who believe an Islamic system would be a backwards step can no longer credibly make such claims. Because it is becoming increasingly apparent that the only system which takes account of all the ingredients needed for the Muslim world’s success – a stable economy, an accountable and representative executive, a system consistent with peoples’ values, independence from foreign control, and which prioritises people’s basic needs over the gains of a few or of private enterprise – can only be secured by an Islamic system. Furthermore, images of television hanging, denial of women’s education, random justice and religious zealotry are the hallmarks of a local tradition, not the Islamic State. The Khilafah (Caliphate) has a history of embracing and propelling learning and scientific innovation, granting rights to women and held to account by an independent judiciary with considerable powers.
We believe the establishment of the Khilafah (Caliphate) as an alternative to continued western occupation will be a transformative step in breaking the deadlock and bringing new hope and stability to the region. However what is abundantly clear in the Muslim world is that "staying with the foreign occupation course" or trying again what has failed in the past, is not an acceptable strategy. Unless the scourge of foreign occupation ends, the region will continue to remain in the dysfunctional state it currently is. Once foreign occupation is ended, the region can then independently tackle the innumerable other challenges it faces head on whether they be poverty, education or corruption.
Hizb ut-Tahrir sends a clear message to Gordon Brown and others at this conference, that whilst you court corrupt failed rulers from the Muslim world to further your colonial policies in the Muslim world, Hizb ut-Tahrir is working with the masses in Afghanistan and Pakistan to build a strong and unstoppable movement. It is only a matter of time before these rulers will be removed from power and the justice of the Islamic Khilafah State is re-established in the Muslim world.
12th Safar 1431
27th January 2010
In advance of the conference, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain launched a new report
‘Afghanistan and Pakistan: The Unwinnable War’
The current Western strategy for Afghanistan & Pakistan and an alternative path for the region.
Download full report