Afghans up against a determined insurgencyBy Lalit J Kha Feb 11, 2011 - 17:25
WASHINGTON (PAN): Noting that people of Afghanistan are up against a determined insurgency, a top counter-terrorism official of the Obama Administration on Thursday expressed concerns over the high level of corruption and drug trafficking.
“There's no question that the people of Afghanistan are up against a determined insurgency,” James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
“There's troubling attrition within their security forces, and corruption, including extortion, land seizures and drug trafficking, feed the insurgency,” Clapper asserted at hearing on “Worldwide Threats” by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Pakistan, he said, also confronts terrorists who threaten to destabilise the government, attack its citizens and plot against US forces in Afghanistan and other nations.
Clapper said that counterterrorism is central to America’s overseas operations, notably in Afghanistan. “While progress in our efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida if often hard-won, we have seen and we will continue to see success in governance, security and economic development that will erode the willingness of the Afghan people to support the Taliban and their al-Qaida allies,” he said.
Separately in a video conference with Pentagon reporters, Brig Gen Mark Martins, Commander of Rule of Law Field Force, said that the Karzai government must deliver on establishing the rule of law in Afghan provinces, districts and sub districts.
“It is significant that surveys of the Afghan population in key districts reflect a continued lack of governance at this sub national level,” he said.
“This lack of governance, the surveys show, is accompanied by a lack of confidence in the government's ability to deliver justice, resolve civil disputes and address a perceived culture of impunity among the powerful,” he said.
“Establishing the rule of law in these districts is critical to the kind of sound governance that will enable an enduring transition of security responsibility to Afghan forces and deny this rugged country as a sanctuary for global threats,” Martins said.
“The rule of law and governance are a prerequisite for having the kind of economic development and reconstruction that are needed, and that if the basics of governance can be provided many of these other things then are made possible. There's a freedom of movement. There's a freedom of action, of economic forces and efforts that can raise the quality of life for all Afghans,” he said in response to a question.
“We are all aware of the fact, as President Karzai has said, that corruption poses a fatal threat to the institutions of the Afghan state and that there are criminal networks that enjoy a degree of public support, even, and political patronage. These have to be addressed. They have to be addressed,” Martins said.