Posts Tagged ‘Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq’

Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New FoundationThe Seminal. Learn how the war in Afghanistan undermines U.S. security: watch Rethink Afghanistan (Part Six), & visit http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog.

My previous post intentionally left out mentions of Senator John Kerry’s defense of Ahmed Wali Karzai–the drug-dealing, election stealing, possibly Taliban-connected brother of the Afghan president–in an attempt to keep the piece to a manageable length. Boy, am I sorry I did that…today’s New York Times contains an article by Dexter Filkins, Mark Mazzetti, James Risen and Helene Cooper that shows AWK is a CIA asset.

According to Andrew Exum (a.k.a., Abu Muqwama, h/t Steve Hynd), AWK is no run-of-the-mill petty criminal:

[N]umerous military officials in southern Afghanistan with whom I have spoken identify AWK and his activities as the biggest problem they face — bigger than the lack of government services or even the Taliban. …[Y]ou can be darn sure that if we think that AWK is the CIA’s guy, the Afghans most certainly believe that to be the case.

CIA’s certainly not earning any new friends in the intel sandbox. Military intelligence officials, for example, seem blindsided (or are feigning shock in the passive-aggressive manner typical of rival government agencies). From the NYT piece:

“If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves,” said Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the senior American military intelligence official in Afghanistan.

…“The only way to clean up Chicago is to get rid of Capone,” General Flynn said.

Tut, tut, general. You might want to check with your superiors before you run with that line of argument. Your “population-centric counterinsurgency” is propping up a whole government full of thugs like Mohaqiq, Fahim and Khalili (the latter two being Hamid Karzai’s vice-presidential nominees in the ongoing election!), not to mention General Abdul Rashid Dostum, all of whom got amnesty for their war crimes thanks to a measure Mohaqiq rammed through the Afghan parliament in the early days of the government. Next time, try to get outraged before we spend billions training a security apparatus at the thugs’ disposal, k?

Feigned pearl-clutch! faint! routines aside, this is a horrifying development for any attempt by the U.S. government to earn consent for the U.S.-backed Kabul cartel from the Pashtuns through a counterinsurgency campaign. AWK allegedly ran an operation that delivered huge numbers of fraudulent votes for his brother in the Pashtun heartland, and the locals knew it. Does anyone in Washington understand what a setback we’ll suffer when the population we’re trying to win over from the Taliban realizes that the person who stole their votes was on the CIA payroll?

The revelation about AWK’s CIA ties shows just how lost in the Afghan labyrinth American policymakers are. It’s a labyrinth of glittering generalities, wishful thinking, India/Pakistan gamesmanship, corruption, inter-agency competition and policies working at cross-purposes with one another.  It’s no wonder it’s taken six policy reviews and 10 months for some of the smartest people on the planet to form the basic outlines of even a misguided path forward. Funny thing about the labyrinth in Greek mythology: it’s not designed to keep you out. It’s designed to keep you in.

The New York Times pegs the original sin of the U.S. policy in Afghanistan:

In hindsight, several current and former administration officials say they have come to believe the decision to turn a blind eye to the warlords and drug traffickers who took advantage of the power vacuum in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was one of the fundamental strategic mistakes of the Afghan war.

Someone will have to explain to me how we’re not compounding the error by pursuing a continued counterinsurgency campaign aimed at protecting from the Taliban a government comprised of the above-mentioned warlords and drug traffickers. NYT’s Helene Cooper and Carlotta Gall, emphasis mine:

Administration officials have routinely complained of Karzai’s failure to crack down on corruption and the drug trafficking fueling the insurgency.

Should Karzai win, either outright or in a second round, Obama administration officials could find a president in Afghanistan who has engaged in so much deal-making that he may be even more beholden to warlords than before.

Warlords and drug lords like Mohammed Qasim Fahim, Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq and Abdul Rashid Dostum dominate the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. They’re one of several reasons why the government on whose behalf we’re fighting a counterinsurgency in Afghanistan is not worth another American dime or drop of blood. (Stay tuned for a continuation of my series, “Meet Your Afghan Warlords,” to learn more about the thugs dominating Karzai’s regime.)

President Obama’s election was hailed by progressives as a bright, shining opportunity for the U.S. to regain its moral standing in the world. That’s not going to happen without a radical reordering of U.S. objectives and strategies in Afghanistan. As long as we continue to hold to the Bush-era assumption that terrorism requires a military response, we’ll remain in bed with thugs like these.

Get our troops out of Afghanistan.

Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq (photo from RAWA)

Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq (photo from RAWA)

This is the second in a series of posts to help Americans get to know some of the most powerful figures in the Afghan government for whom our troops are killing and dying. Today we’ll meet a warlord’s warlord: the kind that engineers immunity for his and his fellow war criminals’ crimes against humanity.

Meet Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq.

Mohaqiq was one of the leaders of the notorious Hezb-e Wahdat, which in late 2001-early 2002 targeted Pashtun civilians for violence because of their ethnic ties to the Taliban. According to Human Rights Watch, Hezb-e Wahdat was “implicated in systematic and widespread looting and violence in almost every province under their…control, almost all of it directed at Pashtun villagers. In scores of villages, homes were destroyed, possessions were taken, and men and boys were beaten and in some cases killed.…[T]here were several reports of rapes of girls and women. In Chimtal district near Mazar-e Sharif, and in Balkh province generally, both Hizb-i Wahdat [alternative English rendering of Hezb-e Wahdat] and Jamiat forces were particularly violent: in one village, Bargah-e Afghani, Hizb-i Wahdat troops killed thirty-seven civilians,” which, as of 2003, was the largest known intentional killing of civilians since the fall of the Taliban.

Following the overthrow of the Taliban, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq managed to get himself appointed as a vice chair of the interim government and as Minister of Planning. During the 2002 loya jirga that set the basic shape of the new government, Hezb-e Wahdat was named by Human Rights Watch as one of the groups that used threats and intimidation against other delegates. Through their use of these thuggish tactics, Mohaqiq’s militia helped corrupt a process which many hoped would lead to greater civilian control relative to the warlords, but which led instead to the warlords’ solidifying their power. Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, of course, retained his positions of power.

Mohaqiq’s militia also became widely feared and loathed for their practice of kidnapping young girls, “forcibly marrying” them (what a useless euphemism for rape), and ransoming them back to their parents. They seemed to especially enjoy snatching girls who were on their way to school, leading many parents to keep their girls home rather than risk their abduction and rape.

But here’s the real kicker: once legtimized, Mohaqiq was one of the masterminds of the widely condemned legislation that granted warlords amnesty for their war crimes during the civil war. The UN sharply condemned the amnesty law, declaring “No one has the right to forgive those responsible for human rights violations other than the victims themselves.”

Here’s the kicker: Karzai just promised to carve out a new province for Mohaqiq in exchange for his support in the election.

So, to sum up, Mohaqiq was a commander of a militia known for using rape as a weapon of war and for human rights violations and war crimes. He deliberately targeted civilians. Then, once he obtained “legitimate” political power, he used it to block prosecution of himself and other warlords for war crimes. But hey–‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ when you subscribe to counterinsurgency doctrine, so our policymakers have tasked our troops with fighting to make sure thugs like this stay in power in Afghanistan.

Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq is just one more reason why American policymakers should stop sending our troops to prop up a warlord-ridden narco-state government in Afghanistan. Get our troops out of there.

Learn more at Brave New Foundation’s Rethink Afghanistan site, which just released the latest segment of their documentary online: “Part Six: Security.”