- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Abdullah: Afghan criminals may go free
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.
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.
- U.S. teacher shot dead in Benghazi after al Qaeda call for violence
- Syria nightmare: Fresh fears about al Qaeda fighters there returning home as sleeper terrorists
- Iran official: Sanctions 'utterly failed' to stop nuclear program
- China accuses Japan of raising tensions over new air defense zone
- Joe Biden meets Xi Jinping in China to try to defuse tensions on air defense zone
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- N. Korean news agency: Kim Jong Un's uncle executed
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow