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Karzai’s Remarks on Election, Peace and BSA

Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

In his address to the parliament, President Karzai warned foreigners not to meddle in Afghanistan’s election. In his last speech to the parliament, the President addressed some key issues including the forthcoming elections, Afghanistan’s relations with the US, the bilateral security agreement and Pakistan’s role in the peace efforts. President Karzai once again assured that there would be a fair and free election and Afghans are determined to have a transparent presidential election. He urged the representatives to support the government in holding a fair and flawless election this year. Karzai warned foreign powers not to intervene in Afghanistan’s election.

President Karzai’s remarks regarding the elections and the government determination to lead a fair and transparent process is indicating that the Afghan government, and Hamid Karzai in particular, is willing to any major possible electoral scandal as the previous presidential election in 2009. However, there are still widespread concerns regarding the government’s hidden agenda for supporting certain candidates. These concerns were further highlighted in recent weeks when President Karzai allegedly intervened in the gatherings of Kandahari elders who were seeking to put weigh behind a consensus candidate. Still, President Karzai’s assurance considerably helps to restore the crucial public confidence into the election process.

In regards to Karzai’s repeated show of defiance towards the US, it is becoming clearer that Karzai is not going to sign the much-awaited bilateral security agreement with the United States despite heavy domestic and international pressures on him to sign the pact as quickly as possible. Seemingly, the latest reports that the US is going to wait for Afghanistan’s next president to replace Karzai and sign the deal has helped Karzai to make his mind for not signing the agreement until a new president comes in. On the other hand, Karzai seems to be convinced that his relations with the US is irreparable, therefore, going to the extreme point in defying Washington. It also cannot be ruled out that the President is purposefully lashing the US to gain an unchallengeable position in controlling the ongoing election process.

Karzai’s remarks on Pakistan are hinting his loss of hope towards Pakistan’s cooperation in the peace efforts and the initiatives to bring the militant leaders on the negotiation table. Despite Afghanistan’s fresh attempts to get Pakistan along in assisting Kabul to directly talk with the Taliban leaders, Islamabad has been lingering on its cooperation with Kabul to persuade the militant leaders into peace talks with the government of Afghanistan. President Karzai’s Pakistan criticism is also suggesting that his long-lasting attempts to appease the Taliban through release of their prisoners and his refusal to sign the bilateral agreement with Washington have not worked.

Given the peace process in stalemate with no sign of a serious cooperation from Pakistan and the BSA in limbo, Afghanistan is going through one of its most challenging foreign policy which will greatly impact the country in near future. The Afghan government needs to take a more sustainable foreign policy with the neighbors and the major powers that are directly involved in Afghanistan.

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