US seeking pullout pretext: Haji Zahir
JALALABAD (PAN): Law-Supporting Coalition chief, Haji Abdul Zahir Qadir, has said the US had attacked security checkpoints in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region of Mohmand after taking the neighbouring country into confidence.
Islamabad-Washington ties dipped to a new low as a result of the cross-border attack by NATO-led forces. At least 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed and 25 others wounded in the November 26 airstrikes on the Salala checkpoint.
During an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Qadir said coalition forces had struck the checkpoints as a result of a joint plan with Pakistan for paving the ground for their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The memo of Pakistani Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani and the blockade of the vital ISAF supply line were parts of the plan, explained the lawmaker, who set up the coalition in Wolesi Jirga to ensure the rule of law and national unity.
The MP alleged: "Afghan government officials, including President Hamid Karzai, violate the law, while the poor are asked to comply with it." Due to opposition from the grouping, the numbers of new entrants to Wolesi Jirga was reduced from 62 to nine, he said.
He rejected the claim that he had voted under duress for President Karzai's picks for Cabinet slots and other positions of independent departments. He also denied accepting cash payments.
"When I raised the Azizi Bank issue in Parliament, a director of the bank, Humayun Azizi, offered me one million US dollars to keep silent,” he revealed, saying he later presented to legislators the director's audio and video regarding the hush money.
He said Reform Coalition members, whose relatives held high positions, opposed Noorullah Dilawari's nomination as Da Afghanistan Bank governor and Ustad Munir Danish's candidacy as member of the Commission to Monitor Implementation of Constitution.
They opposed the nominations on ethnic grounds, trying to fuel differences between Pakhtun and Tajik MPs, according to Qadir, who said that was why his coalition voted for Dilawari and Danish.
He also criticised some writers who wanted to create rifts among Afghans and damaged national unity. Without going into details, he believed the traditional Loya Jirga was an illegal forum.
US-led forces continued to conduct irresponsible operations in defiance of the Loya Jirga's call for an immediate halt to civilian house searches and night raids, he said. "We don’t accept a deal that equates an Afghan's life to a cow's."
Americans should sign with Afghanistan the kind of agreements they inked with Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, he suggested. The country's sovereignty should be ensured under all circumstances, he stressed.
As the US had so far issued no details about the strategic cooperation pact, providing for permanent American military bases in the country, his coalition was yet to stake out its position, the parliamentarian said, warning against the use of such centres against Afghanistan's neighbours.
Security transition from foreign troops to Afghan security personnel was a flop, because the ill-equipped national forces were not yet able to defend the country.
After the pullout of foreign forces, the country's annual revenue would reduce from $1.8 billion to $300 million, which could not meet the expenses of even a province, he pointed out.
The war in Afghanistan, which was about fuel and gas, would rage on, he believed. He insisted the Taliban's political office be established in Kabul, not in Doha, and asked anti-government groups to accept the constitution.
In case of dispute over any article of the constitution, they should seek amendments, the Wolesi Jirga member continued, urging the militants to contest the polls.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.