Afghan president flexes muscles against West
Afghan : The Afghan government, angry at being sidelined over peace
talks, flexed its muscles Thursday by ordering the takeover of a US
military prison and parading British detainees at a news conference.
President Hamid Karzai ordered the transfer of the prison at Bagram
-- sometimes called “Afghanistan's Guantanamo” -- to Afghan control
within a month, citing reports of human rights violations there.
And in an unusual move his government publicly produced two British
employees of a Canadian private security company and charged them with
illegal weapons smuggling. It said the company, which has denied the
allegation, would be closed.
All three countries have provided troops to support Karzai's
government against an insurgency by hardline Taliban Islamists.
But the Taliban announced this week that they planned to open an
overseas political office, a move seen as a precursor to talks with
Washington and it's Western allies aimed at ending Afghanistan's 10-year
A senior official in Karzai's administration told AFP Thursday that
the Western-backed leader was unhappy over the process as it had not
involved his government.
“Any peace process without Afghanistan's government in the lead is
meaningless,” the official said, requesting anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the issue. “But so far, the Afghan government has not
been involved.” Analysts saw clear links between the Taliban-US move and
the government's action over Bagram and the private security company,
even though both have been in Karzai's sights previously.
“By such moves the president now wants to reaffirm his position and
show that his government matters and matters a lot and should be a
regarded as a main player,” author Waheed Mujda said in reference to the
“He wants to show to Americans that the role of his government, in
particular in regards with recent developments, should not be ignored.”
But the US played down the development and asserted that the transfer of
the military prison to Afghan control should be handled in a