Zero option: Dobbins warns of widespread chaos
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins warned on Friday of widespread violence and rapid political disintegration in Afghanistan if the US and NATO opted to a full withdrawal.
“In the absence of a continued train, advise, and assist US and NATO military mission, Afghanistan’s descent to more widespread violence and political disintegration is likely to be much more rapid,” Dobbins told a conference on Afghanistan at the US Institute of Peace (USIPC).
Pajhwok editor-in-chief Danish Karokhel is among others to attend the important meeting on Afghanistan. Karokhel addressed the gathering on the future of media in Afghanistan.
In his key note address, Dobbins said the Afghans wanted the US to stay. “They need us to stay and we signed an agreement two years ago committing the two sides to a long term security partnership. So far almost the only prominent Afghan to speak out against the BSA is Mullah Omar,” he said.
He said President Karzai had repeatedly acknowledged the importance of the security agreement with Washington and nearly all other Afghan leaders had urged its early conclusion.
“If the security transition goes badly, it may not make much difference who governs Afghanistan next year, but the reverse is also true, if this political transition does not take place successfully, nothing achieved in the security sphere is likely to endure.”
“So if the bad news is that uncertainty about conclusion of the BSA continues to cloud the security transition, the good news is that the political transition continues to move forward on schedule and so far without significant disruption,” Dobbins said.
Overall, he noted, a cautious sense of optimism has taken hold in Afghanistan over the elections. A year ago, he continued, many Afghans doubted that elections would even take place, but more Afghans were now confident about the process and hopeful about the elections.
“If successful, the election can pave the way for Afghanistan’s first peaceful and democratic transfer of presidential power in its history. A successful transfer of power from President Karzai to a democratically-elected successor this year will do more than virtually anything to solidify the gains made over the last 12 years,” the top US official said.
“It will also show all Afghans – including the Taliban that the rule of law matters and that country’s young constitutional system is resilient in the face of myriad challenges. To date, candidates have mostly played by the rules and respected the authorities of independent electoral institutions,” he said.
“Government organs have worked in coordination with the IEC on election security and administrative issues, and Afghan media have provided broad and generally balanced coverage and analysis of the candidates and election issues,” Dobbins said.
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