Saturday, August 02, 2014


Afghanistan

European Think Tank Rejects Kabul's Accusation Over Afghan Report

Afghan Preisdent Hamid Karzai (right) gestures as he shakes hands with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Kabul in mid-October.
Afghan Preisdent Hamid Karzai (right) gestures as he shakes hands with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Kabul in mid-October.

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Predicting Gloom In Afghanistan An Inexact Science

Predicting a troubled future for Afghanistan appears to be the new trend in some of the Western writing about the country. Think tanks, newspaper op-eds, and blogs in Europe and North America are warning about a range of scenarios, from a division of the country to a Taliban takeover, a civil war, and increased ethnic strife among the country's various groups.
By RFE/RL's Tajik Service
The Europe-based International Crisis Group (ICG), a private think tank, has denied claims that its recent report on Afghanistan was "politically motivated."

Officials in Kabul had said earlier on November 5 that they were considering taking action against the ICG for a report it published in October that contains harsh criticism of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said the ICG's actions in Afghanistan "have been politically motivated and their assessments of the situation in the country lack credibility."

In its report, the Brussels-based think tank said Karzai seemed more interested in maintaining his personal power rather than ensuring the long-term stability of the country.

"Plagued by factionalism and corruption, Afghanistan is far from ready to assume responsibility for security when U.S. and NATO forces withdraw in 2014," the ICG report warned. "That makes the political challenge of organizing a credible presidential election and transfer of power from President Karzai to a successor that year all the more daunting."

Andrew Stroehlein, communications director at the ICG, told RFE/RL after Kabul's complaint that he had not heard from the Afghan government.

"We have seen the press reports about the various statements referring to an investigation, or a review, or an assessment, but we have not heard any direct word from the [Afghan] government on any of this," Stroehlein said. "So these are just press reports at the moment."

Stroehlein insisted claims that the ICG was working with "another agenda" simply did not "hold water."

"All of the [ICG] reports that are published are online. We publish articles and other products, everything is on our website," Stroehlein said. "Our recommendations to governments, international organizations, and international agencies are all available online. The funding that we get as an organization is also completely open and online. So the idea that there is something secretive or [there is] another agenda really doesn't hold water."

The ICG report also suggested the Afghan state could collapse and civil war might ensue after the NATO withdrawal in 2014.

With additional reporting by AFP and dpa

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