Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has expressed grave concern about the recent deal made by the Karzai family and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), to develop oil and natural gas in the Amu Darya Basin of Afghanistan. He intends to hold a hearing into how the state-owned Communist Chinese enterprise colluded with the notoriously corrupt administration of President Hamid Karzai to gain a foothold in a strategic part of Afghanistan.
CNPC chose as its "partner" the Watan Group, a Karzai family firm run by two of President Karzai's cousins (Rashid and Rateb Popal) and includes his brother Qayum Karzai as a major stockholder. The conflict of interest displayed by President Karzai in ordering his Minister of Mines to sign the China contract with the Watan Group confirms that he is running a family-based kleptocracy.
"The strategic consequences of this "partnership" between the Karzai family and China are immense, and go beyond Beijing's desire to control new energy sources," says Rep. Rohrabacher. "The establishment of a large Communist Chinese government presence in the northern tier of Afghanistan will undoubtedly include armed security forces which Beijing always sends to its foreign oil fields. This enterprise should be seen as part of the long-term goal of the Sino-Pakistan alliance to dominate Afghanistan."
The $3 billion, 25-year deal gives Watan and CNPC access to an estimated 160 million barrels of oil from three fields in northern Afghanistan. CNPC has pledged to produce 150,000 barrels by the end of this year. CNPC is additionally interested in the larger Afghan Tajik fields, also in the north. The massive project will put a Chinese presence in the heart of Uzbek and Tajik regions which are the strongest centers of resistance to the Taliban. Local leaders of the Northern Alliance are opposed to the deal. President Karzai's response has been to threaten to send troops to put down local opposition, which he has labeled "treason."
"This is not just another example of President Karzai exercising dictatorial power to enrich his family," warns Rohrabacher. "It is an example of his growing alignment with Pakistan and China. The objective is to wipe out those northern communities most opposed to the Taliban and to Karzai. If successful, it means the U.S. has sacrificed blood and treasure for a decade only to benefit our enemies. Our brave soldiers are being stabbed in the back by corruption and subversion in Kabul working in cahoots with Beijing."
Rep. Rohrabacher is outraged that U.S. officials supervised the bidding process and allowed the award to go to the Chinese Communist firm and the Karzai family mafia.
"The Chinese state-owned and run corporation is an agent of America's greatest rival in world affairs," says Rohrabacher. "Beijing uses its rising wealth to buy influence, support rogue states and build armaments that threaten our security. To let them establish a major base in Afghanistan indicates that the Obama administration has no concept of strategy or understanding of the connection between international economics and national power.
"Instead of our failed and misguided policy of pretending Pakistan is an ally and Chinese investment is a stabilizing factor, we need to understand that we are returning to the pre-9/11 policy of permitting Pakistan's use of terrorists to conquer Afghanistan with Chinese help. We need to change our strategy. We need to support the Northern Alliance against Karzai's dangerous plot to sell his country and strengthen our alignment with India to counter Sino-Pak ambitions."