Paddy Ashdown, Opposed by Afghans, Won’t Take U.N. Post (By CARLOTTA GALL in NYT)

Een slecht teken voor het streven naar een betere geintegreerde aanpak in Afghanistan.

The British politician Paddy Ashdown withdrew his name from consideration for the post of United Nations special envoy to Afghanistan on Sunday, after being rejected by President Hamid Karzai in what was widely seen as a move to assert his authority against Western control.

“This job can only be done successfully on the basis of a consensus within the international community and the clear support of the government of Afghanistan,” Mr. Ashdown said in a statement. “It is clear to me that, in Afghanistan at least, the support necessary to do the job effectively does not exist.”

The Afghan foreign minister, Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, said Mr. Ashdown had been rejected because of negative press and public reaction to his appointment, but diplomats said it had more to do with Mr. Karzai’s desire, one year before Afghan elections, to improve his image by standing up to Western powers.

In addition to opposing Mr. Ashdown’s appointment, Mr. Karzai has also opposed a plan to widen the position’s authority.

Senior Afghan officials said that Afghans should be taking a greater role in policy and decision-making, and be given more responsibility in the conduct of the campaign against terrorism.

The sudden reversal, after Mr. Ashdown’s appointment had seemed virtually assured, became clear after Mr. Karzai met last week with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other Western diplomats in Davos, Switzerland…

Paddy Ashdown, Opposed by Afghans, Won’t Take U.N. Post (By CARLOTTA GALL in NYT)

The Manley report on Canada’s future in Afghanistan focuses on our national debate over Canadian troops in the war-torn country.

But it also points to the United Nations’ crucial but often disorganized role in helping Afghanistan survive, rebuild and evolve as a society. What’s needed, the report says, is a new kind of "high-level representative to lead and co-ordinate both the UN and NATO commitments" for better links between the two international pillars.

And, panel chair John Manley told the Star, "we see a lot of meetings being held and nothing happens. Actions may be well intentioned, but they’re not achieving success."

Case in point would be Britain’s Lord Paddy Ashdown, known in Bosnia as "Paddy Crashdown," for his zeal in clearing out corrupt, seditious and obstructive officials.

Ashdown had been wooed by the UN to fill the job recently vacated by German special representative Tom Koenigs…

One UN insider said the "Afghan government wants to be sure that the nature of the job wouldn’t change."

"In other words, Ashdown would be doing exactly the same things that Koenigs did," the insider said.

That isn’t what many Western countries, including Canada, had in mind. They believe that someone of Ashdown’s military background, as well as his political and diplomatic experience, could help to get a grip in an environment that is increasingly chaotic, dangerous and demoralized.

Ashdown, in his recent book, Swords and Ploughshares, criticized the political, military and aid efforts in Afghanistan as inefficient, and said bluntly, "we are losing in Afghanistan," with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Currently, the UN’s mandate in Afghanistan is a sprawling one.

It includes six main elements, from advising the government on the peace process, to promoting human rights, and managing all the UN’s humanitarian, reconstruction and development activities in partnership with the government.

The Manley report urges expanding its role further to co-ordinate UN and NATO activities under an uber-chief. But, says retired Col. Mike Capstick, former commander of the Canadian Strategic Advisory Team for Afghanistan, "it may not be politically feasible. You need someone who is high profile, and could influence the embassies in Kabul, and someone of Ashdown’s calibre would be invaluable. But Afghanistan is a fully sovereign country, and you can’t go in as a colonial administrator."

Some Afghans say they welcome a tough approach, if it would impose security and rid the country of endemic corruption.

Others, like the young female parliamentarian Malalai Joya, say the occupation has already failed, and, she told the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, "the U.S. and its allies, including Canada, are supporting the sworn enemies of our people." A change of policy, not personalities, is needed.

Defend Malalai Joya

UN, NATO co-ordinator may not be magic bullet (Olivia Ward in The Star)

Miisie Afghanistan

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2 thoughts on “Paddy Ashdown, Opposed by Afghans, Won’t Take U.N. Post (By CARLOTTA GALL in NYT)

  1. Jan Willem, blijven interessante berichten..
    Vanavond staat er een blog van mij over oorlogen.. Ook die van Iran en Afghanistan…
    Kunnen alle blogs van jou over deze onderwerpen zo als link worden opgenomen. Ik heb er ook eentje van jou (over Iran) in opgenomen.. Moest helaas kiezen.
    Ik hoop dat mijn verhaal veel gelezen wordt, ik ben (door de research) nog meer geschrokken dan ik al was….Reactie is geredigeerd

  2. @Aad Verbaast:
    je kunt, zo gewenst, links leggen naar ‘Irak-crisis’, ‘Iran-crisis’ en ‘Missie-Afghanistan’ onder mijn ‘Eigen bijdragen’ rechts in het kader.
    Ben benieuwd naar je blog.

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