KABUL _ Regional countries should be vigilant against conspiracies of U.S. government which is seeking to spread sow of discord in the region.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the above statement in an exclusive interview with our correspondent and requested neighboring countries to make their utmost efforts for thwarting U.S. plots in the region and prevent penetration of ISIL from entering into Afghanistan.
It should be noted that Hamid Karzai served as President of Afghanistan for 14 years.
To learn more about the details on the current and past situation of Afghanistan, Mehr News Agency (MNA) and Tehran Times newspaper has conducted an exclusive interview with him which comes as follows:
Q: You have been as President of Afghanistan for 14 years and won the US support during these years wholeheartedly. But it is for some period that you have become as tough critic of the U.S. government. Why? In early years of your administration, did you think that U.S. would be thinking of maintaining interests of Afghan people?
A: In the beginning when the United States and its allies came to Afghanistan after Sept. 11 terrorist attack with the support of international community and UN, people of Afghanistan welcomed them warmly. When I saw that U.S. and its allies have decided to create a safe haven for the people of Afghanistan, I myself became very happy on the arrival of the United States to Afghanistan.
Even, I showed vehement interest on the arrival of US forces to Afghanistan before Sept. 11 attack in order to make a better future for this disaster-stricken country. In the beginning, I thought that United States can make a bright and rosy future for the people of Afghanistan but unfortunately, it was a wrong idea that I had in my mind. After some years of their presence in Afghanistan, I came to this conclusion that they [U.S. government] intend to materialize its own objectives in this country under the pretext of fighting against terrorism. During these years, neighboring countries especially Iran established very intimate cooperation and collaboration with Afghanistan. But unfortunately, after elapse of years of U.S. presence in this country, I saw that Afghanistan is moving slowly from a rather calm towards instability and war.
Under such circumstances, I conversed with then authorities of the United States but later, I saw that U.S. government tries to spread its sovereignty and sow seeds of discord in Afghanistan. For this purpose, I understood that U.S. entered into Afghanistan in order to materialize its malicious objectives.
Moreover, U.S. government set up an equipped prison in Afghanistan and violated law, freedom and religious democracy of Afghanistan. In other words, U.S. interfered with our free election and did not allow us to be strengthened and self-sufficient as a free and independent nation. Eventually, we found that U.S. cannot meet our expectation to be as a free and independent country and tried to materialize its heinous political objectives in Afghanistan.
Q: Earlier, you had said that you are still in contact with the current government of Afghanistan. Have you established cooperation with the National Unity Government of Afghanistan for exchanging views in this respect? Would you mind explaining a bit more on this?
A: Yes. Presently, I am getting in contact with the members and authorities of the current administration of Afghanistan every day. In response to the second part of your question, I should say that I exchange views with the current President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Afghan’s Chief Executive. Also, I am in direct contract with the current members of Afghan Parliament.
Q: Well, you criticized the U.S. policies adopted in the region. Has the current National Unity Government of Afghanistan accepted these criticisms?
A: Unfortunately no. Of course, we do not want our government to be at loggerhead with the U.S. government. We expect our government to regain its inalienable right from U.S. government. We also expect the current Afghan government to take effective step in the field of spread of peace and security in this country.
If U.S. government and any other governments which are friend to us, we express our readiness to establish intimate cooperation with them, otherwise, we have to defend our country by any means. We respect the US government as long as it respects our rights. If we see that US government intends to undermine Afghanistan, we have to defend our country by resorting to any means.
Q: In your opinion, what is the main reason behind announcement of U.S. strategy in which it has shown tendency to wage war with Afghanistan?
A: Well, it is obvious that U.S. seeks its policy in the battlefront and war. That is to say that U.S. government considers war as a means in order to materialize its objectives in our land and territory. U.S. government has bestowed misery to our country in order to attain its goals by any means. It is natural that we oppose it strongly.
We have reflected this issue to U.S. authorities for many times, claiming that you [U.S. government] are not allowed to make a country unsafe and insecure in order to attain your objectives but actually, U.S. officials have resorted to any means in order to spread seeds of discord in most parts of world.
To me, U.S. government is after spreading tension and violence across the globe.
Q: United States had a different approach to its strategy than the past in a way that it warned Pakistan on the one hand and showed willingness to establish more cooperation with India on the other hand. In your opinion, what objective is pursuing by the United States with this change of stance?
A: Incorrect and wrong policy taken by Pakistan in fighting against terrorism is the main reason that United States adopted a tough position against Pakistan. The U.S. government accuses Pakistan of spreading extremism and terrorism. The U.S. government was well aware of this issue many years ago.
The main reason of this approach can be sought in U.S. strategic objectives in the region. American government wants to achieve its goals through creation of disunity and discord in the region. It is hoped that leaders of regional countries will be more vigilant on the plots waged by U.S. government against them.
Q: You want Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly) in Afghanistan should be held, in which, United States in this gathering should promise not to attack or abuse any country. Do you think that the United States is explicitly trying to use Afghan land and territory for this purpose?
A: Yes. The coalitions have been emerged for this purpose. But in return, we have always said that Afghanistan soil should not be used against any neighboring country. We do not allow U.S. and/or any other country to use our land against other neighboring countries. We want Afghanistan a developed country in the region.
We insist on cooperating and interacting with other countries based on mutual respect. We expect other countries to use Afghanistan soil for spread of peace and security. We are against any war in every part of the world. If U.S. government helps Afghanistan in this regard, we welcome it; otherwise, we will oppose such policy and struggle to stand against bullying powers by all our means.
Q: Do you think that U.S. government backs DAESH (Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, ISIL) terrorist group in the region? What is your opinion in this regard?
A: In response to your question, I should say that ISIS did not emerge as an internal phenomenon in our country. This terrorist group has penetrated into Afghanistan land and territory. Most people in our country have been victimized by ISIS’s brutal act that has brought about many problems in our country.
DAESH is the brainchild of U.S. and its allies which introduced this terrorist group to the world under the pretext of fighting against extremism and terrorism. For this purpose, I call on regional countries not to allow ISIS to grow in Afghanistan, otherwise, their peace and tranquility will be jeopardized extremely. It is for about 16 years that U.S. forces and troops are in Afghanistan and have brought about misery and many problems to the people of this country.
U.S. government claims that it fights DAESH (Persian acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, ISIL) but with the presence of U.S in the region, nothing special has been happened up to the present time. Nowadays, we can see that the number of this terrorist group is increased day by day. It is obvious that U.S. government and its allies such as Saudi Arabia back this terrorist group in order to realize their heinous objectives in the region.
Q: Can cooperation of regional countries with Afghanistan be a substitute for U.S. and Western countries’ cooperation in Afghanistan?
A: I should say that regional cooperation should be strengthened in Afghanistan with or without the presence of U.S. in the region. Regional countries should establish cooperation and interaction with Afghanistan in order to spread peace and security in their countries especially at the current situation that ISIS has been spread in most parts of the region. We cordially request our neighboring countries to cooperate with us, because, this issue is an inevitable and unavoidable issue for us in line with strengthening National Unity Government of Afghanistan.
Q: U.S. President Donald Trump has always adopted an aggressive stance against the Islamic Republic of Iran. You mentioned in your previous interviews that U.S. government has insulted Iran. What is your opinion about this rhetoric stated by U.S. President against Iran?
A: I heard the aggressive statements of U.S. President against Iran and am very sorry about this. Trump is the president of a great country. American people are very respectable, industrious and noble. Undoubtedly, American people do not use such a harsh rhetoric against Iran and such speeches against a very civilized and historical nation is not acceptable at all.
Q: Can the rhetoric stated by U.S. President Trump change mentality of Afghan people towards the Islamic Republic of Iran?
A: No. not at all. Iranian nation is a friend and bother of people of Afghanistan. We have very deep cultural, religious and linguistic commonalities. Afghan government and noble people of this country will never tolerate any insulting and abusive remarks stated against the Islamic Republic of Iran. In general, people of Afghanistan have the best relations with the Iranian people.
Q: A couple of months ago, we interviewed with one of members of Taliban who said that Taliban is ready to negotiate with Afghanistan provided that foreign forces should leave Afghanistan. Do you think that if such an event is occurred, will Taliban live up to its commitment to negotiate with the government of Afghanistan?
A: Well, Taliban always announces that it is ready to negotiate with the government of Afghanistan under specific terms and conditions as mentioned in above. For this purpose, they are struggling in this respect. I think what they say, they should accept to do it naturally.
Q: Let’s talk about the previous election held in Afghanistan that led to the formation of a National Unity Government, in which, two parties took part in the government. Many political analysts and even Afghan people believe that previous election held in Afghanistan is a completely rejected election. In that time, you were the president of Afghanistan. Would you please tell us what was the main reason for the problems happened in the previous presidential elections in Afghanistan?
A: Problems occurred in Afghan’s previous presidential election cannot be discussed. It is natural that a country like Afghanistan has an electoral problem but our election was badly named by the United States and was done for American purposes. We know this and everyone knows. This issue is clear for us like the sun and cannot be hidden. Everyone who strives to conceal it will fail. U.S. had goals in Afghanistan and wanted to establish a weak and debilitated government in Afghanistan.
In 2009 when I was also a presidential candidate in Afghanistan, United States made its utmost effort to create a chaos situation in this country but I thwarted the U.S. plot in Afghanistan and do not allow U.S. to reach its goal. But in 2014, unfortunately, U.S. succeeded in its goal.
So, our problem with regard to our election is related to the people of Afghanistan and nothing else but how we were notorious, I should say that it is related to the foreign powers. Undoubtedly, U.S. government had a hand on it.
Q: As the last question, have you decided to be a candidate in upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan?
A: No. my term has finished in Afghanistan. I am of the opinion that young people of Afghanistan and the new generation of Afghanistan and also new Afghan politicians should roll up their sleeves and come to scene of election in line with materializing objectives of this country in all fields.
Q: Any concluding remarks.
A: I would like to express my special thanks to you and your dear colleagues who arranged this interview. Once again, I request regional countries to cooperate and establish unity and amity with one another in order to witness a world free from war and aggression. (Tehran Times)