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Rohrabacher Reacts to President Obama's Afghanistan Speech; Slams U.S.-Karzai Partnership Agreement as "Failure"

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama's Afghanistan speech from Bagram Air Force Base, outlining the Strategic Partnership Agreement he signed in Kabul alongside Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

"This agreement locks in failure. It won't lead to peace because it attempts to placate Pakistan and ignores the cause of the problems-a highly centralized system of government headed by a corrupt clique. Peace can only be won when everybody has a seat at the table, power is dispersed and we align ourselves with democratic India.

"The causes of the civil war that gripped Afghanistan before 9/11 are not addressed by this agreement. The Taliban are being used by Pakistan to gain strategic depth against India. The Taliban, who are Pashtun, are roughly 38% of the population, the remaining 62 percent are Tajik, Uzbek, and Hazaras.

"The president argues we need more time to maintain stability in Afghanistan but more time won't do any good without major changes in strategy, policy and personnel. The current political structure in place is contrary to the decentralized structure of Afghanistan. The political leaders with whom were are allied are corrupt and have no allegiance throughout the country. All this talk of creating a central army in Afghanistan is futile. Afghanistan has be run by tribal militias for thousands of years and that won't change.

"The longer our troops stay, the more we continue to alienate the Afghans. We should pull our troops out ASAP and arm the village militias and provide financial assistance to the tribal chiefs. Finally, we need to quit operating under the assumption Pakistan is our ally. It is our enemy. The Pakistani government is the radical Islamic enemy we are fighting, We should shy away from the Cold War strategy of unconditionally backing Pakistan and move instead toward a partnership with India.

"Frankly, this agreement does not address the real problem. It only perpetuates the same system, with the same actors, that have not achieved peace over the last decade. The constitution created in Bonn, Germany in 2002, was a mistake. It created a highly centralized form of government when in fact Afghanistan has always been ruled by a decentralized government. The majority of the Afghans lobbied in Bonn for a parliamentary form a government, but instead they were forced to submit to rule by Kabul."

Rep. Rohrabacher was recently denied entry into Afghanistan by President Hamid Karzai, who personally reached out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to express his objections. President Karzai objected to Rep. Rohrabacher meeting with his political opposition in order to create a more representative government in Afghanistan.


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