Thursday, August 21, 2014


Karzai Blocks U.S. Congressman From Kabul Visit

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Republican-California)
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Republican-California)
By RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan and Richard Solash
U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's office has confirmed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai forced him to cancel a visit to Kabul, saying he was not welcome in the country.
A statement from Rohrabacher’s office said he was to be a late addition to a U.S. delegation that met on April 22 with the ethnic Uzbek former Northern Alliance commander Abdul Rashid Dostum and other Afghan opposition leaders.
Rohrabacher, a Republican from California and 23-year veteran of Congress, is an outspoken critic of Karzai.
The lawmaker’s office said Karzai threatened to block entrance to the entire U.S. delegation if Rohrabacher was aboard the military plane that was transporting the group from Dubai to Kabul on April 20.
The statement said Karzai's demand was forwarded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who "personally petitioned Dana not to continue on with the delegation."
Rohrabacher stayed behind in Dubai.
Earlier media reports said Rohrabacher had been refused an Afghan visa.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on April 23 that the Foreign Ministry can grant or deny a visa to any foreign national, but he did not comment specifically on Rohrabacher's case.
Rohrabacher, who chairs the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, has previously called for investigations into alleged Afghan government corruption.
He also angered Kabul in January when he led a small delegation of mainly Republican U.S. lawmakers to Berlin for meetings with Afghan opposition politicians.
Karzai Critic
There, he advocated a more decentralized form of government for the country, saying: "The overly centralized government power structure in Afghanistan is contrary to that country’s culture and has inhibited progress toward building a stable and democratic society."
In Berlin and elsewhere, Rohrabacher also has criticized the Karzai government's peace talks with the Taliban, calling them "a betrayal of those Americans who shed their blood in the last decade, as well as a sellout of the brave Afghans in the Northern Alliance who cast their lot with us after 9/11."
The U.S. State Department has distanced itself from Rohrabacher's stance on Afghanistan.
Commenting on his January trip to Berlin, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, "We believe it’s always best when our members of Congress can see a broad cross-section of Afghan political leaders, not just a slice."
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul released a statement on April 23 about the delegation's meeting that Rohrabacher did not attend. It said, "Members of Congress do not represent the State Department or any other part of the Executive branch. Their presence and views at this privately arranged event do not reflect the view of the President or the Administration."
Karzai's shunning of Rohrabacher comes at a sensitive time in the U.S.-Afghan relationship.
The future of international involvement in Afghanistan will top the agenda at next month's NATO summit in Chicago.
On April 22, Washington and Kabul initialed a draft for a long-term strategic partnership pact, which would see the United States provide military and financial support to Afghanistan for at least a decade beyond NATO's planned 2014 withdrawal of combat troops.
With additional reporting by the BBC 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: john from: canada
April 23, 2012 19:06
Rohrabacher will be welcome in Russia because of his support of Russia in the 2008 Georgia -Russia conflict (and he seems to be quite in tune with Prof Stephen Cohen on many points of Russia-US relations).

Rohrabacher has come to the attention of some Russian opposition activists:

"Congressman Rohrabacher (R-CA) vociferously promoted the Kremlin party line as well as any paid Putin spokesman. He criticized the US and NATO for extending protection to the Baltic states and criticized the fact that such protection had made the Baltic states less vulnerable to “compromise” with Russia; he worried that sanctions against Iran might damage Russian interests; he endorsed Russia’s practice of turning off gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe; and most shockingly, Mr. Rohrabacher stated that the US should partner with “a giant” (Russia) instead of being concerned with an “alliance with Lilliputians” (the Baltic states) and that the US couldn’t depend on its European friends."

by: Herbert
April 23, 2012 19:22
it was heartwarming that Hillary personally delivered the news that the US State Dept approved of denying members of a US Congressional fact finding mission access to NATO controlled areas under purported authority of the puppet government, and then issued its statement that 'Congress does not express the views of the Obama Administration' Maybe Congress should start expressing the views of the American public about the Executive Branch's usurpation of authority.

by: William from: Aragon
April 24, 2012 06:20
Rohrabacher is clearly a trouble-maker - one thing Afghanistan does not need more of. Nor does it need foreigner politicians talking with the Northern Alliance - that path can only lead to internal division. However, a nice chess move, Hilary.

by: Rafiodin Malikzay from: Virginia
April 26, 2012 15:17
It is important that Congressman Rohrabacher also heads the interests of Afghanistan as a united and strong country. His frustration with the rampant corruption in President Karzai's administration is understandable. Most Afghans are also very frustrated. But it is well understand that the current state of affairs in Afghanistan is the result of the powers usurped and used by the very warlords who have been responsible for the destruction of Kabul in the 90s, the massacre of thousands of innocent people and filling up their own coffers at the expense of the people of Afghanistan. There is no reason at this time for Mr. Rohrabacher to entertain and by so doing support the very same murderers who are the reason for the emergence of Taliban and for Al-Qaida to take root in Afghanistan. Unless the Congressman, just like the former Northern Alliance leadership, desires the division of Afghanistan along the ethnic lines, I do not see any reason for him to maintain this cozy relationship. On the contrary, the Congressman would be well advised to seek and support other educated, honest and patriotic Afghans and help them further the cause of peace and democracy in Afghanistan that could be a genuine ally of the United States and that could be a good player in the international arena and the region.

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