Finally the Deadlock Is Over
Afghan delegation led by President Hamid Karzai with a legion of other high state officials in the United States held important discussion to enhance bilateral ties while building consensus on issues of mutual interests. During the visit to Washington the delegation showed a rare manifestation of rationalism and took several steps to remove the deadlock that had taken place after searing issues related to security partnership deal such as the number of US military bases and immunity of troops.
Response from both sides is positive as is visible from the statements of officials. Political gurus termed the meetings as ice breaking. It is hinted that relations of the two allies are once again on right track. Important decisions are yet to come as President Karzai is expected to take up key issues with his US counterpart, President Barack Obama.
Nevertheless, ball is in the court of the Afghan government as Obama administration on Thursday pledged to provide all necessary equipments to Afghan security forces after receiving a brief list addressing necessities of Afghanistan. Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Martin Dempsey in a press statement cleared that Kabul should carry out an assessment as per their needs in order to demand military equipments for its security forces as Washington could not help the war-hit country unless US had a list in this regard, prepared by Afghan officials. Despite the request for a list, the United States is ready to provide the C-130 Hercules aircrafts, helicopters and other planes as a goodwill gesture to Afghanistan to bridge the trust deficit.
Indicators tell that Washington wants cordial relations with the Afghan government. This is the reason that Dempsey wants a list to make sure that Afghan security forces have all equipments that could help them in fighting terrorism and defending their motherland in an efficient manner. Request for the list is genuine as the United States yet to know about nature of threats that Afghan law enforcement agencies are going to face in future.
In addition to that, Washington also agreed to hand over the US-controlled Bagram prison to Karzai-administration as a step to move forward and steer relations of both the countries in right direction while respecting demands of the ally—Afghanistan. An agreement was reached on Thursday in a meeting between Afghan President and the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The Afghan government several times has asked US authorities to transfer complete control of the prison to Kabul as Afghans were not ready to see the prison under Washington’s tutelage on their soil. Indeed, this move has strengthened ties of the two states and would leave positive impact on relations of both countries after much strain.
Moreover, Washington is also ready to funnel $ 825 million into Afghanistan as financial aid, where there the Afghan government will not by bypass, and that indeed was a longstanding demand of Kabul. No doubt, it is a bouquet garni that would add flavor to the mutual ties. There are several other packages for Kabul that are likely to be discussed between Karzai and Obama on Friday.
However, the Afghan government is also expected to give something in return as assurance that Kabul is also willing to move further and enhance relations that couldn’t harm its national interests. It is the responsibility of the Karzai-administration to make sure that there was no corruption in the country as it would hurt the ally.
Corruption, of course, is the biggest issue in this country that has badly tarred the image of the entire Afghan nation all over the world. There is a serious need of image makeover and a stern war on corruption. Until the government washes away this stigma, the international community would hardly believe what Afghanistan has promised with.