Eide meets with Clinton and Holbrooke after disparaging the surge
Kai Eide, the recently ousted head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, paid a visit to the State Department Thursday morning. Eide’s contract wasn’t renewed following a very public fracas with his second in command, Peter Galbraith, over how to handle the widespread fraud in the recent reelection of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Galbraith accused ...
Kai Eide, the recently ousted head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, paid a visit to the State Department Thursday morning.
Eide’s contract wasn’t renewed following a very public fracas with his second in command, Peter Galbraith, over how to handle the widespread fraud in the recent reelection of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Galbraith accused Eide of having him fired for speaking out about the fraud. Eide himself may also been cashiered for being seen as too close to Karzai.
Apparently a little bitter, in his parting words to the U.N. in New York Wednesday, Eide took a broad swipe at the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan, warning of a military-focused strategy and urging international forces in Afghanistan not to expand the surge into new civilian areas.
Via the fine UN Dispatch blog, Eide said:
The military surge must not be allowed to undermine equally important civilian objectives and the development of such a politically driven strategy. It must not lead to an accelerated pressure for quick results in governance and economic development efforts, which could divert resources from a long-term approach to civilian institution building and economic growth. Furthermore, it must not lead the military to expand their engagement into key civilian areas, such as those I just mentioned. That could result in a situation where the international community becomes more entrenched rather than a situation where the Afghans are more empowered.
So what was Eide’s message when he met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Representative for Af-Pak Richard Holbrooke this morning in Foggy Bottom? Apparently it was about peeling off some of the Taliban through some sort of political engagement.
"There isn’t any question that our policy has to include an opportunity for those people fighting with the Taliban to rejoin the political process," Holbrooke told an audience at the Brookings Institution Thursday. "I would estimate that 60 to 70 or more percent of those people fighting with the Taliban are not ideologically supportive of al Qaeda at all and are not necessarily supportive of the Taliban supreme leadership."
Clinton acknowledged the need to start separating the die-hard Taliban from the hangers-on in her July speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, but no real engagement is happening, at least that we know of. Holbrooke said the idea existed on paper but never got any real traction.
The closest thing publicly announced was a conference in Tokyo set up by Japanese parliamentarians last November, in which Afghan government representatives discussed Taliban engagement with a range of international representatives.
Also at Brookings, Holbrooke denied, again, that he is somehow secretly working on the Kashmir issue or dealing with India policy in any way, as is rumored around Washington.
"I am not negotiating issues between India and Pakistan," he said. "It’s not my job nor would it be productive if I were to undertake it."
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
More from Foreign Policy
At Long Last, the Foreign Service Gets the Netflix Treatment
Keri Russell gets Drexel furniture but no Senate confirmation hearing.
How Macron Is Blocking EU Strategy on Russia and China
As a strategic consensus emerges in Europe, France is in the way.
What the Bush-Obama China Memos Reveal
Newly declassified documents contain important lessons for U.S. China policy.
Russia’s Boom Business Goes Bust
Moscow’s arms exports have fallen to levels not seen since the Soviet Union’s collapse.