News Release

In Afghanistan: Fighting Terrorism? Building Democracy?

The U.S. has recently increased military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Colin Powell is leaving for a conference in Berlin about Afghanistan on Tuesday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai this weekend proclaimed that elections would be delayed. The following are available for interviews:

BEAU GROSSCUP
Grosscup is author of the book The Newest Explosions of Terrorism and professor of international relations at California State University in Chico. He said today: “The so-called ‘Spring Offensive’ in Pakistan seems to be mostly symbolic… Especially in the light of insider accounts from Paul O’Neill and Richard Clarke that the administration was fixated on Iraq from the beginning, the Bush administration now seems to be desperate to be seen to be doing something about Al Qaeda that can provide a media spectacle closer to the election. However, it’s not clear what the capture or killing of any top level Al Qaeda official would do in terms of disabling radical Islamist terrorist networks. Even if the Bush administration had taken up the Taliban on their offer to extradite Bin Ladin to Pakistan to be tried before an international tribunal, Al Qaeda could continue to operate as long as it could find recruits and sympathy — and the war on Iraq certainly seems to have provided that….”

SAHAR SABA
A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, Saba is currently in the U.S. She said today: “The postponement of elections in Afghanistan shows how unstable and insecure the country is. If the U.S., U.N. and Karzai could not improve the security and political situation in Afghanistan after more than two years, how can they claim that elections will be free and just, with the return to power of the fundamentalist warlords?… The warlords are threatening and bribing people to vote for them. Those who dare to declare their candidacy for elections are also threatened. In such restrictive conditions Afghan women’s ‘participation’ will be used to further the appearance of democracy. Even Karzai’s statement on International Women’s Day reveals how meaningless women’s participation will be: ‘Please, my dear brothers, let your wives and sisters go to the voter registration process… Later, you can control who she votes for, but please, let her go.'”
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JIM INGALLS
Founding director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, which works with RAWA, Ingalls wrote the recent article “The New Afghan Constitution: A Step Backwards for Democracy.” He said today: “Colin Powell’s encouragement of Pakistan’s ‘aggressive stance’ against tribal residents of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border region has been cast as a renewed attempt to bring militants and terrorists to justice. Clearly, burning down villages and arresting tribals, acts that earned Pakistan ‘key non-NATO ally’ status, will only increase anti-U.S. and anti-Musharraf terrorism, not decrease it. While Pakistan is in the spotlight for its brutal assault, the same kinds of activities conducted by U.S. troops on the Afghan side of the border get little coverage. This highly-coordinated ‘hammer and anvil’ tactic goes on as the U.S. cements its desired political power structure in Afghanistan…. Even though there are only six months before the new election date, there are currently no election laws and no candidates, except for the U.S.-backed Karzai….”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020