Plus ça change… carving up Afghanistan

Afghanistan administrative areas 2008

Current administrative areas of Afghanistan – click the image for a larger version

There I was, banging on about western intervention – interference – in the fate of other countries, and up pops this news.

Tobias Ellwood, a former military captain, and now a British Conservative MP and Foreign Office aide, has put together a plan to reorganise the running of Afghanistan, once the international forces (ISAF) withdraw in 2014.

‘Plan C: Finding a political solution to Afghanistan’

‘Plan C’, as the report is called, proposes to limit the power of President Karzai by creating a new position of Prime Minister. The country would be carved up into 8 separate ‘kingdoms’, governed by a committee representing the ethnic groups of each area, and – significantly – “overseen by one or more foreign countries”.

According to the UK Independent newspaper [1], the plan has already been discussed in London and the White House, and Pakistani government officials in London have also been briefed. (No mention in the report of Afghanistan’s being involved.)

Ellwood defends his proposals by stating that: “An alternative solution [offers] a less centralised political structure that better reflects the ethnic make-up of the country, the already established economic hubs and the regional interest of the Taliban, who might then be encouraged towards a political settlement.”

Others disagree profoundly. Thomas Ruttig, a regional expert, points out that ”splitting the country into such regions will result in the empowerment of what we have started calling ‘local (or regional) power brokers’ and what was known as ‘warlords’ before, whose misrule between 1992 and 1996 caused the rise of the Taliban in the first place.”

Quite apart from the practical and political aspects of Plan C, it seems that, yet again, a solution is being unilaterally imposed on a nation by outside interests.

Deciding for Afghanistan

Wazhma Frogh, director of the Afghanistan Research Institute for Women, Peace and Security, makes my point when she asks: “Who is the British MP sitting in London and deciding for Afghanistan? It should be us, the people of this country, deciding if we want to divide into states or collapse as a nation. I am surprised to see an MP of a democratic country creating the future and showing solutions for a country in which he doesn’t have to live and where his children will not have to live.”

Well said, indeed!

[1]: The Independent

Image source: University of Texas

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