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“We urge Europe to get involved in Afghanistan”

                In an interview with the Persian editorial staff of RFI, Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, “ <em>resistance figure</em> In Afghanistan, asks Europe not to abandon its country.  Above all, he asks him to participate in peace talks to support the Afghan people and their rights to democracy and freedoms.  Ahmad Massoud traveled to France to attend the inauguration of an avenue in the Champs-Élysées gardens named after his father.

                                    <p><strong>RFI: How do you assess the situation in your country?</strong>

Ahmad Massoud: Afghanistan is now, once again, at a delicate and defining moment in its history. The international community, the United States and the West as a whole, after twenty years of accompanying the Afghan people, are abandoning it. What seriously worries us is that the scheduled departure of international forces comes at a time when insecurity is growing in Afghanistan. The interventions of foreign countries in this country are increasing and the context is very favorable to the development of extremism and terrorism.

This situation is all the more worrying because, due to the multiple errors made during the last twenty years, we have today only a weak government, illegitimate, believing and acting on the basis of ethnicity. The departure of international forces, under these circumstances, caused a deep crisis in the country.

How is the current government illegitimate?

The current government did not come from healthy and transparent elections. It is based on an agreement between Messrs Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani. But today, this very agreement is not respected and the power is more and more concentrated. [entre les mains du président, NDLR], which inevitably makes it illegitimate. In addition, the ethnocentric policies of the current government are more and more distant from the people.

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What do you think of the Doha negotiations?

Over ten years ago, Afghanistan set up a Peace Council, initially chaired by Burhanuddin Rabbani. But his efforts to achieve peace were unsuccessful and the Taliban, through his assassination [le 20 septembre 2011 à Kaboul, NDLR] showed that they were looking for war instead. Unfortunately, Americans for about two years have started negotiations with the Taliban in Doha. These negotiations helped to prepare the ground for inter-Afghan discussions. But the regrettable and serious mistake of the Americans to sign a separate agreement with the Taliban, before the Afghans themselves could come to an agreement, changed the balance of power and shattered the results obtained by a year of negotiations.

After the sufficiently well-known experience of the power of the Taliban in Afghanistan, how can we interpret today the project of their participation in a national coalition government? Do you think that this legitimacy is obtained thanks to the negotiations initiated by the Americans?

No, not at all. One of the main reasons that explains a certain legitimacy of the Taliban or any other group abroad, and only abroad, because inside the country the situation is different, is the failure and the failure of successive governments in Afghanistan. It is this same incapacity that has despaired the population, caused chronic insecurity and resulted in the weakening of the government and the strengthening of the enemy.

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What do you think of the plans for the departure of the American forces and, in general, of the international forces? Do you think they should stay?

I think that during the peace negotiations in Afghanistan, greater importance should be attached to defining the conditions necessary for the departure of international forces, in order to avoid the resurgence of another all-out war in the country. It is obvious that after the establishment of peace, these forces must leave Afghanistan. It was the wish ofAhmad Shah Massoud and his fight against the Soviet Union to see his country free from the presence of foreign forces. But peace negotiations must focus on the advent of a just and equitable system.

What is the essential roadmap to get Afghanistan out of the current situation?

A roadmap must be developed through cooperation and negotiations with broad national and international participation. It is not for one person to define it. But I can give the principles from my point of view. The first rule is that of self-denial. Mr. Ashraf Ghani must accept that the continued exercise of his power constitutes a danger for the identity of Afghanistan, for peace in Afghanistan and for the very status of the State, because, today, it is clearly against union and alliance in this country. He declares himself against peace. The more he insisted on staying in power, the more he led the country to war and bloodshed. This is the reason why he must agree to leave power for the good of the country.

The second step is that of entering into national, regional and international negotiations for the establishment of real peace accompanied by a change in the political system to ensure national participation. It is not possible to achieve peace in Afghanistan by maintaining a centralized state with the concentration of power in the hands of one person. We do not want the departure of Mr. Ashraf Ghani to give the same powers to someone else. Peace in Afghanistan can only be guaranteed through an efficient and decentralized political system.

You alluded to ethnicity. What do you mean ?

Afghanistan is the land of minorities. No ethnic group constitutes the majority in Afghanistan, neither the Pashtuns, nor the Tajiks, nor the Uzbeks, nor the Hazaras. Under these conditions and in a country made up of minorities, the centralized system will not work. For this country, the best solution is to establish a decentralized system. For the past twenty years, despite the American presence and the economic and security guarantees of the West, the crisis of political participation and the distribution of economic wealth in Afghanistan has persisted and the country is today in a degraded situation and a perilous position, because the centralized political system does not suit this multi-ethnic country. In addition, we are surrounded by neighbors who seek their own interests and play their own scores to achieve their goals.

What do you expect from Western countries and especially from Europe? Do you think she can play any role in Afghanistan?

Members of the European Union, especially Germany and France, and at one time Britain and Sweden too, have played an important role in supporting democracy, women’s rights, freedom of expression. They have also, within the framework of NATO, participated in the fight against extremism and I take this opportunity to sincerely thank them. We are grateful for that. But unfortunately, since Europe has reduced its military presence in Afghanistan, its voice on this country at the political level is no longer heard. For example, the United States has completely excluded Europeans from the peace conference to be held soon in Turkey. This exclusion constitutes a strategic danger both for Afghanistan and for Europe. This is a danger for Afghanistan, because Europe for a long time, from the time of the war against the Red Army and against the Taliban, but also for the last twenty years, has supported the Afghan people in their quest for democracy, women’s rights, freedom of expression, human rights and other such values.

The United States, while committed to these values, had other considerations. The absence of the Europeans, who have always worked to reinforce these values ​​and even urged the United States to take them into account, truly constitutes a danger for us and we urge Europe to return to Afghanistan and there. be active in these areas. The Americans’ direct negotiations with the Taliban, especially during the past year, have resulted in the legitimization and strengthening of this organization and other extremist groups. The other groups, the chebabs, al-Qaeda, Daesh and the others say to themselves: if the United States has negotiated with the Taliban, they will one day negotiate with us too. This vision strengthens their activities and also encourages their cells in Europe to develop their extremist actions and activities.

The other consequence of the hasty negotiations with the Taliban and the prospect of a possible failure of the inter-Afghan talks and the continuation of the war, involves and encourages the departure of hundreds of thousands of Afghans towards Europe. Last year, 5 million Afghans were displaced. A large part tries to come to Europe and settles in particular in Germany, in France, in Great Britain. So the problem of war and peace in Afghanistan is also a problem for Europe. In my meetings with the French authorities, I insisted on the role that Europe and France must play in the inter-Afghan peace negotiations to support the Afghan people and democracy in that country.


p style=”text-align:right”>Translated from Persian by Ehsan Manoochehri


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