Arthur Kent

Slain Afghan Peace Mediator Cautioned U.S. against Surge




Arsala Rahmani, killed by an assassin’s bullet yesterday in Kabul, opposed President Barack Obama’s troop surge three years ago, arguing that Western powers should instead focus their efforts on removing foreign jihadists from Pakistan.

His views were clear when we first posted this video report in June of 2007, two years before the surge began.

Though Obama went ahead with a scaled-down version of the buildup called for by his top generals, the surge is now in full reversal with U.S. forces being rapidly drawn down.

Rahmani ‘s warnings about the counter-productiveness of the more-boots-on-the-ground approach were eerily correct.

“As long as these Arabs and other foreign extremists are hiding in Pakistan, there will be war,” he told skyreporter in the autumn of 2008.

“But placing more American and NATO troops on the battlefield in Afghanistan will only spread the fighting. There will be more clashes, more bombing, and so even more civilians will die.”

Urging negotiations he said:  “We should continue to seek contact with the Taliban at every level possible.

“It’s best to start with very basic issues. For example, their concerns about the release of their prisoners at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay.

“On our side, we should bring up their killings of teachers, and attacks on schools and construction workers. Then we could move on to larger issues. If we don’t try to talk, we know what we can expect. More fighting.”

Meantime, more pressure should be placed on the Taliban’s supporters in Pakistan's military establishment – and most especially on foreign jihadists.

“These people from Arab countries, from Uzbekistan and other foreign places, they will always stand in the way of negotiations. They are the cause of many of Afghanistan’s problems. The Americans should have dealt with them long ago.”

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