Zalmay Khalizad is up to his old tricks again. Remember, he's the ex-Unocal adviser who met with the Taliban in Houston in 1998 to talk about the oil pipeline mentioned in "Fahrenheit 9-11". [See "The other mess we're in.]
The Asia Times reports:
"Latif Pedram, spokesman and co-founder of the newly established Afghanistan National Congress (ANC)... confirmed regular Asia Times Online reports that US and Afghan officials are in "constant contact and negotiations" with senior Taliban leaders, including some ministers of the fundamentalist Islamic regime toppled in late 2001...
They regularly meet with Zalmay Khalilzad, President George W Bush's [Afghan-born] ambassador and personal envoy to Afghanistan and President Karzai, who recently reiterated that except for a few, most of the Taliban are good nationalist people."
"The real aim of the negotiations between the Americans and British with the dreaded Taliban is to keep Afghanistan firmly under the tutelage of Pakistan and shutting it to the influence of other regional players such as Iran, Russia, China and India."
The Washington Post quotes Khalizad from a November 2001 article speaking of those "good nationalistic people:"
"The Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran...We should . . . be willing to offer recognition and humanitarian assistance and to promote international economic reconstruction. . . . It is time for the United States to reengage" the Taliban.
Well, I guess the Bishies are taking his advice. What else can they do? The Taliban were the only ones who ever put an end to the opium production.
"Liberated" Afghanistan is a basket case. Opium production is at an all time high. A U.N report from January said of 220,000 hectares under opium cultivation globally, 90,600 hectares are in Afghanistan. That's close to a quarter of total world production. 40% of the Afghan economy relies on opium.
The BBC says, "The Afghan drugs trade is growing so fast some fear the country could become a narco-state, where drugs barons rule, not the government."
"Afghan presidential and parliamentary elections will not be held at the same time, the government has said. Vote organisers told the Cabinet on Tuesday that a simultaneous vote was "impossible", President Hamid Karzai's spokesman, Jawad Ludin, said.
But he stressed that presidential polls would go ahead by late October. The vote was postponed from June because of slow voter registration and rising violence by militants opposed to the US-backed Kabul administration."
The Asia Times: "Farooq Wardak, a member of the election management body, said wrangling between officials and political parties had delayed setting the date for elections, which should have been made last week if elections were to take place in September (90 days' advance notice)...the Americans also want the elections before their own elections in November "in order to allow President Bush a major electoral card, explaining to the Americans that the US has restored democracy in both Afghanistan and Iraq".
Good luck with that. Let's see him explain about the "good" Taliban and the "bad" Taliban.