October 27, 2009

The Most Important Article on Afghanistan You'll Read This Week

Why, you ask? Because if this is true, and if the CIA is empowering Ahmed Wali Karzai at the same time in which NATO/ISAF is saying abusive local power-brokers are a threat to mission success, then this is yet another example of NATO/ISAF carrying out one campaign in Afghanistan while the CIA carries out another -- with both campaigns operating at cross purposes to one another. I should say here that I am in no position to confirm or deny this report. I can, however, say that numerous 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. And so if AWK is "the agency's guy", that leads to a huge point of friction between NATO/ISAF and the CIA. Again, I am not currently serving as an advisor to ISAF and cannot speak for Gen. McChrystal's command. But I do not have to:

“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.

Again, I am not in a position to confirm or deny that the CIA has an enduring relationship with AWK, and I am telling the truth when I tell you that all I "know" about this is what I read in the open source world. But you 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.