- Kremlin blocks opposition websites; Kasparov fears Putin plans ‘something drastic’
- Saving trees? EPA wastes $1.5 million storing unneeded pamphlets in warehouse
- Scott Brown Senate bid in New Hampshire may launch soon
- Jeffrey Corzine, son of ex-N.J. governor, dead at 31
- Australian surfing magazine sorry for calling indigenous surfer ‘apeish’
- Records: Man in Fla. theater shooting also was texting
- The Putin problem: U.S. needs Russian rockets for spy satellites
- Florida cops ticket toddler in toy convertible: report
- Kerry warns of ‘very serious’ response to Crimea-Russia alliance
- Fla. Rep. Alan Grayson’s wife drops restraining order against him
Abdullah worries Afghan criminals may go free
Says President Karzai’s government is failing to solve problems
Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s former foreign minister, says he is concerned that militants locked up at a Bagram Air Base could be released after the U.S. detention facility is handed over to Afghans next year.
“It is quite possible that guilty people — people who have committed crimes against you, against us — will get released and harm us back,” Mr. Abdullah said in a wide-ranging interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times on Tuesday.
He said he supports handing over the facility but stressed there must be joint oversight once it is in Afghan control.
Army Maj. John Redfield, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said the U.S. government will transfer the detention facilities “to an appropriate Afghanistan ministry or ministries … as soon as transfer can responsibly occur in accordance with all applicable international and national laws.”
On other issues, Mr. Abdullah said he does not favor reconciliation talks with the Taliban, assessed the results of a U.S.-led military operation in Majah as “mixed” and said a surge of U.S. troops in a major offensive in Kandahar is “needed” in order to “defeat the Taliban and win the people.”
Mr. Abdullah, who dropped out of a runoff election against Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the wake of what international observers said was as rigged election in August, dismissed as a “PR exercise” a “peace jirga” Mr. Karzai plans to call this month.
“Of course I will be opposed to a situation where after all the sacrifices made by the Afghans as well as the rest of the world we turn it back to the old days,” he said.
The former foreign minister said he sees national reconciliation as a broad effort that focuses on the 30 million citizens of Afghanistan, not just 30,000 people — a reference to the Taliban. “[The Afghans] are the people in which all the investment should be” made, he said.
In addition, Mr. Abdullah said it was wishful thinking to assume that the Taliban militants would willingly give up their arms, adding that “they are not fighting in order to be part of a democratic system.”
“To think that we can invite those that are fundamentally against the process, have intimate links with international terrorism and are there in order to return Afghanistan to the old days, that in itself is a false hope. That will not happen,” he said.
In a separate interview, Bruce Riedel, who led a review of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan for President Obama, said: “It has always been very unlikely that Mullah Omar and the Taliban would accept any peace process with Karzai. They prefer his head.
“That said, Karzai has domestic political reasons for wanting to be seen as open to talks with his fellow Pashtuns,” said Mr. Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
Currently, the U.S. military is involved in a major effort against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province following an operation in Marjah.
Mr. Abdullah described the outcome of the Marjah operation as “mixed,” saying the Taliban “might come back or is already back.”
Discussing the situation in Kandahar, he said the political corruption in the province is a key problem.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Kerry warns of 'very serious' response to Crimea-Russia alliance
- John Kerry says any resumption of aid to Egypt would depend on reforms in Cairo
- Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War
- Minister sees breakthrough 'in months' for long-split Cyprus
- Russia's neighbors shiver amid Putin's Cold War moves in Ukraine
TWT Video Picks
By Emily Miller
Obama is losing the debate on gun ownership, concealed-carry permits
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- GOP bill tries to pull courts into fight with Obama on executive power, enforcing laws
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- NRA shirt gets N.Y. high school student suspended
- VIDEO: Emily Miller on Fox Business on Vivec Murthy for surgeon general and smart guns
- Ben Carson: America's now 'very much like Nazi Germany'
- After three days, Redskins finally address defensive needs
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again