Global Security: Afghanistan and Pakistan - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents

Submission from Majid Karzai, Second Secretary for Political Affairs, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in London

  I am the Second Secretary for Political Affairs at the Embassy of Afghanistan in London and I have prepared the below statement to aide your inquiry "Global Security: Afghanistan". Having worked in London for the past year and a half, I feel that I can contribute to your understanding of Afghan state-building and the counter-terrorism initiative as a whole. Although formally trained in Economics, my focus for the past four years has been international policy regarding Afghanistan and terrorism.

Content of Statement:

    1. Governance and Foreign Intervention.

    2. Afghan Security Apparatus and Foreign Assistance.

    3. The Afghan State and its Relations with Foreign Allies.

    4. Reconciliation and the Peace Process.


  The Afghan government is politically centralized with decentralized services. Meaning, Governors and district chiefs are appointed by the central government however, they in their locales have the authority to administer services without much bureaucracy. This system has many strengths if cooperated with, it provides strategic space for a national program, encourages merit based appointments, and has inclusive qualities.

In terms of strategic value, it allows the central government to combat terrorism, poverty, and corruption under strong leadership. And due to their quality of being nationally appointed, local officials set themselves apart from locality specific political problems which in turn gives them problem solving abilities, providing stability and cohesion.

  Last year (2007), by Presidential decree the Independent Directorate for Local Governance-IDLG—was formed. The IDLG has a clear aim: to restore good civilian control of the provinces and to elevate the quality of administration across the country. After years of conflict some administrative roles had been adopted by security organs or military/police leadership and local governance was diluted by the realities of warfare. In order to re-establish quality civilian governance, the IDLG was established to closely follow the developments in the provinces and to aide their improvement, a province alone cannot achieve this.

  The IDLG is a good point of contact for international partners wanting to assist the development of local governance.

  The risk in the current situation is that the counter-terrorism foreign forces lend to a different problem which may plague the provincial administrations for some years to come. This problem is the disintegration of the civilian system and the coupling of foreign forces and local governments. Neglecting the civilian structure harms progress and endangers long-term stability. The Afghan State should be co-operated with as it is the only legitimate, and democratically chosen, protector of Afghanistan's future.

  It is noteworthy to mention that the system of governance was approved by ratification of the constitution in 2004 by the Grand Council of Afghanistan or in Pashto the "Loya Jirga" and any "de facto" policy subversive to the system is viewed as hostile and negative in regards to the state.


  The Afghan security apparatus is comprised by three components: Police, Army, and National Security. The Police is centrally organized by the Ministry of Interior and suffers from a lack of resources. The lack of resources is due to the meager financial situation of the state and the great security challenges that exist and this is exacerbated by the lack of support to the central authority which does not enjoy enough support from its International partners. The lack of support is both political and material and mirrors the problems faced by civilian sectors. Multiple power centres are nurtured in Afghanistan and the police is the primary party to be adversely affected.

The National Army in comparison to the other security organs is well supported however lacks the support needed for it to fully project across the country. The Army does not have deterrent capability to protect the territory of Afghanistan from outside groups and is in turn perpetually engaged in guerrilla warfare. The Army's business should start on the borders and protect the territory. Progress would be increased military hardware to enable the Army to protect national sovereignty.

  The National Security organ—National Directorate for Security—is structured to mitigate security threats that may be foreign or domestic and is organised into departments having presence across the country. Any co-operation in terms of funds, plans, and equipment should be done with consultation with officials at the center and not at the local level.


  The Afghan State rooted in history but, revived at the Bonn Conference of 2001 is a strong natural ally for Britain and the region. Relations with partner nations have been strong from the outset and the realization of stability in Afghanistan is an important endeavour in terms of morality and security. Having natural legitimacy engrained in its history, the Afghan state is the only entity in the region which can confront terrorist organizations and succeed. The key is that partner nations invest in their relationship with Afghanistan.

The initiatives of late symbolized in the Hague Conference held early this April which recognize the regional and even global aspects of the conflict in Afghanistan are very productive in regards to Afghanistan's external relations and this sort of engagement will prove to be very beneficial across the board. The Government of Afghanistan has long been advocating the address of regional dimensions in regards to challenges confronted in Afghanistan.


  The Peace process in Afghanistan is the culmination of our national aspiration towards stability and prosperity. It is a strategic interest for our people and is a central pillar for the way forward. The efforts for reconciliation are led by our President and are given the highest attention. We appreciate the support given by the Muslim world in this initiative. It is a very important process and patience is needed. What is needed from the International Community is space for negotiation: allowing the Afghan government to sort the problems.

15 April 2009

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2009
Prepared 2 August 2009