'Al Qaeda is not interested in Afghanistan'
Who is this talking, does he makes sense.
'Al Qaeda is not interested in Afghanistan'
What is the difference between the Taliban and Al Qaeda?
Only 20 percent of insurgents who form the core of Taliban are fighting the ideological war. The rest are aggrieved tribes who have been mistreated by some government officials or drug trafficker or some foreign intelligence operators or by the transnational Al Qaeda terrorists. It also consists of unemployed youth and criminal groups. All these are alliance of convenience. They are fighting for different reasons.
Al Qaeda is a transnational organisation. They are not even interested in Afghanistan or Pakistan. They are waging a global war. Taliban is in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Al Qaeda is also based in the tribal areas of Pakistan. There are elements in the Taliban that are not ideologically motivated. They are not that dangerous. There are ways to bring them back. They can be motivated to return. Those who will not settle for less than overthrowing of the regime, I don't think there will be any way for them to reconcile.
How come they are getting support from the same people who were victims of the Taliban before 9/11?
Yes but they still don't like the Taliban. They don't see the Taliban as the alternative to the current political transition. However, when people see that government is not present or when they see that the government cannot protect them they sit on the fence. All the surveys indicate that only a few people actively support Taliban. Most surveys claim that only 10 percent of the people are fighting for Taliban and 20 percent are fighting for the government, while 70 percent are sitting on the fence. While they don't want the Taliban to come back they don't want to risk their life on behalf of the government that can neither protect them nor provide services to them.
Do you think if the proposal which recommends that Taliban becomes part of the Afghan process, stability may come?
Forget about the Taliban, whoever is fighting the government if they come and renounce violence and accept the constitution I think there is a place for all of them.
Are they looking for political Islam?
Political Islam or no political Islam as long as they are non-violent there is a place for them. Once they adopt violence to overthrow the government Taliban or no Taliban they are not acceptable to Afghanistan.
Do you agree with the perception that NATO's operation in Afghanistan is failing?
Some things are positive but some problems persist. The positive thing is that Afghans support the presence of NATO. We are worried that NATO will leave before the Afghans are able to fend for themselves. The problem is that within NATO different countries have different mandates, different instructions for their operations. Some countries are willing to fight militarily and some are not. Some countries think that their mandate is for peace-keeping and stabilisation, some think that stabilisation and peace will not come without defeating insurgencies and establishing security in those areas. It is not that NATO cannot work. The insurgencies cannot be defeated militarily but it should not lose militarily either.
So do you think NATO is a success in Afghanistan?
There are many NATO countries fighting gallantly in Afghanistan. Generally speaking, without NATO Afghanistan will slide back into chaos. Because Afghanistan has first hand experience that when it is weak it has many neighbours who take advantage of it.
Afghan politician Ali A Jalali is a visiting fellow for Institute of National Strategic Studies in Washington, DC. He was better known as an interior minister in President's Hamid Karzai government struggling with internal security and menace of drug traffickers.
He proved to be a tough administrator. His resignation from the Karzai government in 2005 made the headlines because it irreparably weakened the government. He served as interior minister from 2003 to 2005 when he supervised the creation, training and deployment of a 50,000-strong Afghan national police and a 12,000-strong border police He was entrusted with counter-narcotic, counter-terrorism and criminal investigation operations.
Born in 1940 in a Pashtun family, Jalali wears many hats. He is one of the most quoted academicians and teaches in prestigious institutions in the West. He was director of Afghanistan National Radio Network Initiative and chief of the Pashto service at the Voice of America. He has published his thoughts in three languages; English, Pashto, Dari/Farsi. He was also a top military planner with the Afghan resistance following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He attended staff colleges in Afghanistan, the United States, Britain, and Russia , and has lectured widely.
Since 1987, he has become a US citizen and is an important man in the West's plans for Afghanistan. Jalali has written several books, including a three-volume military history of Afghanistan. His book, The Other Side of the Mountain (2002), co-authored with Lester Grau, is an analytical review of the Mujahedin war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. Although, Jalali is strongly in favour of US role in Afghanistan, he has been critical of some of the US' moves in his country. In 2002, he criticised the way the US used local chieftains in the war on terrorism that "enhanced the power of the warlords and encouraged them to defy the central authorities."
Well the Taliban sure is interested in Afghan.
al Qaeda and Taliban leadership has to be somewhere physically, and the border of Paki and Afghan is safe, it is almost an un policed border. And Paki won't allow USA pursuit into Pakistan.
So for the terrorist its a tetter/totter, they can cross from side to side if it gets to hot.
I think al Qaeda does care about both Afghan and Paki, they have a perfect hiding place.