Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Afghanistan on July 13. He met with President Karzai and discussed issues relating to Afghanistan’s collaborative efforts with the international community to suppress the Taliban resurgence and the country’s efforts to curb the cultivation of opium poppy. Also, he met with US military commanders and NATO officials to discuss plans for the military handover of Afghanistan to NATO.
Rumsfeld expressed his support for Karzai and praised his leadership. He lauded Karzai and his team’s achievements on various fronts including the offensive against Taliban and the subsequent peace prevalent in Afghanistan.
This visit shattered speculations in some Afghan circles regarding America’s growing discontent with president Karzai and his inefficacy to produce desirable results. It was speculated that, because President Karzai has failed to rid his government of maladministration and corruption, stop the cultivation of opium poppy and produce greater achievements, America was thinking of forcing radical changes in Karzai’s government. These ‘radical changes’ would, in the extreme case, force Karzai to resign.
Rumsfeld stung Pakistan, an important ally in the war on terror, for not doing enough to stop the operation of terrorist training camps. He said, “There is no question but that there is some cross-border activity… and it is something that needs to be worked on, on both sides of the border.”
Pakistan has already positioned some 80,000 troops on the border with Afghanistan and some 10,000 more troops are scheduled to be stationed soon to prevent illegal cross-border activities.
He ensured Afghanistan of his country’s continuous support.
He also called on European countries to help Afghanistan in its war on drugs. Afghanistan is currently the source of 90% of the overall illegal drug production in the world.
This post was also contributed to Publius Pundit.