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Arian Mouj Sharifi
Transcript of Senate nomination hearing for Zalmay Khalilzad to be ambassador to Afghanistan
Federal News Service October 29, 2003 CAPITOL HILL HEARING; PART I OF A HEARING OF THE SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE SEN. LUGAR: This hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is called to order. Today, the Foreign Relations Committee meets to consider three important nominations. First, we will take up the nomination of Ambassador Margaret Tutwiler to be undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Next, we will address the nomination of Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad to be ambassador to Afghanistan. And finally, we will consider the nomination of Ms. Louise Oliver to be permanent United States representative to the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organizations with the rank of ambassador. We welcome our three nominees and look forward to our discussions with each of them. … SEN. LUGAR: We will call the committee to order again. And it is a pleasure to have you before the committee, Mr. Khalilzad. I noticed members of your family. And could we start by your introducing members of your family who have come to the hearing? MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I have with me today my wife, Dr. Cheryl Benard. She's with the Rand Corporation. SEN. LUGAR: Welcome. MR. KHALILZAD: And my younger son, Max, who is 12 years old. My older son, Alexander, who goes to Claremont McKenna, unfortunately had an exam today and couldn't make it. Thank you, Senator. SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you. And we appreciate having all the members of your family here at this hearing. I want to call upon our distinguished colleague, Senator Hagel, for purposes of introduction. SEN. CHARLES HAGEL (R-NE): Mr. Chairman, thank you. I am not worthy, of course, to be down here introducing such a distinguished diplomat, individual American who has given so much to his country. But nonetheless, I have been asked to do this, and I have accepted this responsibility with a great deal of personal pleasure, and recognizing it a high honor to introduce Dr. Kahlilzad to this committee. You know, of course, and all the committee, of his good work on behalf of this country. I would say that there are very few public servants in the American government today that possess such an impressive resume. That impressive resume of accomplishments includes accepting and being quite successful with a number of great challenges. And he is about to ascend to another great challenge, and that is if this committee looks upon his nomination by the president of the United States to be ambassador to Afghanistan favorably, which I assume they will. That's up to you, Mr. Chairman. And if our colleagues in the Senate wish as well to follow the lead that I hope will be set here by this committee, then he will be our next ambassador to Afghanistan. This is a man who comes to the job as prepared for this assignment as anyone we have ever sent to any nation, I suspect, in the 200 history -- year old history of our country. His professional accomplishments are many, his educational background, what he has contributed to relations between so many countries and the United States are well documented. It is not often when we are able to enlist someone of Zal's character into a government responsibility that has such far-ranging consequences and implications for the future, certainly, of our country, the future of Afghanistan, but I would dare say the future of Central Asia and the Middle East. He has been, over the last three years, engaged in some of the most delicate, high-level, difficult areas of assignment that we have had to deal with. Those include special presidential envoy to Iraq, to Afghanistan; counselor to the secretary of Defense, counselor to our national security adviser, counselor to the president, as well as other assignments and tasks he's taken on. I have a prepared statement, Mr. Chairman, that I would ask to be included in the record. SEN. LUGAR: It will be published in the record in full. SEN. HAGEL: Thank you. And would conclude these remarks with thanking his family, as you have asked him to introduce his family and he has done that, and recognizing the sacrifices that his family has endured over the years and those that they will continue to endure. But I also know that they are very proud of this man, as all of America is, and of his first country, Afghanistan, since he was born in Afghanistan -- is very proud of him. And we all look forward, Mr. Chairman, to working with Dr. Khalilzad, and I know it will be a successful tour of duty for him, like all of his tours of duty, on behalf of this country and the world. So again, I strongly encourage our committee to look favorably upon his nomination, and again, say what a personal privilege it's been for me to introduce him to this committee. Thank you very much. SEN. LUGAR: Well, thank you very much, Senator Hagel, for that very warm and thoughtful introduction of our nominee. I would ask the nominee to proceed with opening statement. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, first, I would like to thank Senator Hagel for his very generous comments. It is a great honor, Mr. Chairman, to appear before you today as President Bush's nominee as ambassador to Afghanistan. I wish to express my appreciation to you for the opportunity to discuss Afghanistan in this forum. If it is the will of the Senate to confirm my nomination, I hope to continue to draw on your insight, and Senator Hagel and other members of the committee's insights and advice as ambassador. The president has said that success is the only option in Afghanistan. By success, we mean an Afghanistan which does not again become a base for terrorism and extremism, and can stand on its own feet to meet its security needs; a country which is firmly committed to democratization, the rule of law and human rights; a country which is on the path to increased economic progress through free market and legal economic activities. We have made significant progress, but we face significant challenges in reaching our goals. The administration has concluded recently that we could both improve the odds of success and reduce the total cost if we invested more up- front and better integrated the various instruments of our influence and power in the pursuit of these objectives. If the Senate confirms me, I will be result-oriented and, working with the Afghan government, the United Nations and other donors, will expedite our efforts to achieve our goals. I will focus on the following: improve security for us and for the Afghans; improve the country's economic infrastructure; improve the quality of life for Afghans; move towards democracy; and I will work with the regional powers to avoid a renewed cycle of destructive geopolitical competition in Afghanistan. To implement this expanded reconstruction program, we will need an increased capacity for the United States government in Kabul and for the Afghan government. It will also require increased coordination among donors. President Bush's vision for our relationship with Afghanistan is a unique partnership across continents and cultures. This is a partnership that bridges together a superpower and a country struggling, a partnership that the Americans and Afghan peoples first struck during our common struggle against the Soviet Union and now reaffirmed in mankind's common effort to defeat terrorism. Mr. Chairman, if I may, I will end my opening remarks at this point, but I ask that the longer statement that I have prepared be entered into the record. SEN. LUGAR: Your entire statement will be entered into the record in full. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you. SEN. LUGAR: We will be pleased to do that. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you. SEN. LUGAR: Let me mention that I will also ask that my own statement about you be entered in the record in full. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you. SEN. LUGAR: But I would just mention these facts before turning to my distinguished colleague, Senator Biden. That this committee recognizes the impressive record of your life and your work, from your youth as a native Dari speaker in Kabul through your doctorate at the University of Chicago, your work as a professor, defense analyst and special presidential envoy for Afghanistan. You bring a wealth of experience related to Afghanistan, South Asia and United States foreign policy to this position. You are an American citizen by choice. And your early analysis of the threat to United States interests from the Taliban, from bin Laden and other terrorists was prescient and is appreciated by all of us. President Bush is committed to succeeding in Afghanistan, but Congress must also be committed to this goal. That is one of the purposes of our hearing today, to emphasize that again, in addition to hearing from you and emphasizing your qualifications and raising questions as to how you will pursue that. But these are at least highlights of my statement about you that I wanted to make more public as well as a part of the record. And I call now upon Senator Biden for his comments. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you. SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Zal, welcome. Welcome to the committee. And as the chairman will tell you, when the secretary of State indicated to me that it was the intention of the president to send your name up, I -- it took no urging -- contacted the chairman and thought we should move this as rapidly as possible. I'm thankful you're willing to take this job. I'm thankful you're willing to undertake what is a very difficult assignment. You and I had the pleasure of spending time immediately after the Taliban was defeated in Afghanistan in Kabul, in Bagram Air Force Base, for a -- I guess it was four or five -- I can't remember -- and we slept in that luxurious embassy that still had not -- the dust had not lifted, and were awakened at the same time with firefights outside of the wall. And I was impressed then not only by your resolve, but even more importantly, by your knowledge and your access; your access to, at that time, all elements, including the so-called warlords throughout the country. I know of no one who is more familiar with the players in Afghanistan than you. And I think it's urgent that we confirm you and get you out in the field. I'm not going to ask you some questions that -- because I think you are -- well, let me back up. (Pauses.) At the time, which was just months after -- less than months -- fewer than weeks after the, quote, "fall of the Taliban," you and I had some late-night discussions about the willingness of the warlords at the time to allow U.S. or international forces to be on their territory. And I had only gotten to speak to two, but you had literally surveyed every major warlord; you had gone to the territory to meet with them. And I may be mistaken, but at the time -- and I'm not holding you to this -- at the time, your assessment was there was a willingness to have international forces in place in their part of the world, whether it was Herat or Mazar-e Sharif or wherever, in large part because -- if I remember correctly, and correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't want to put words in your mouth -- was that they were all at that point impressed by the awesome power that the United States had demonstrated militarily and were not at all sure that their sponsor states historically would be there to be their sponsors. And they were -- my words, not yours -- almost willing to let us be the apartheid cops for them; at least if we were there, no one else was in their territory. And there was a significant fight I will not characterize, because I don't know which side of the argument you were on, between the State Department and the Defense Department about the need to expand the International Security Force. I met at length -- I mean, hours -- with the then-one-star British general who was in charge of ISAF at the time. I met with now the man who is the head of American Special Forces who was then at Bagram Air Force Base, a one-star at the time. And I didn't find a single military man wearing an American uniform or British uniform or any other uniform that didn't think we had to expand ISAF beyond its -- beyond Kabul. And I remember you explaining to me how important it was that Karzai be given -- be the vehicle through which any development funds basically were disseminated to the rest of the country, so there was a need for Ismail Khan in Iraq to have to talk to Karzai in Kabul if he was going to build a highway or if we was going to build -- put in a new water system or whatever. And so, I thought that the two prongs of our attempt to rebuild this country and stabilize it were going to be a federal government which had never been particularly strong historically, emboldened by the fact that there would be International Security Forces in other parts of the country beyond Kabul, and, essentially my phrase, Karzai becoming the funnel through which development aid flowed so he has some heft. I've been disappointed in the way in which both of those things have, in my view, not worked. And the three of us worked together, the -- you know, the "Three Musketeers" here. I diminish their stature, being the Democrat in the group. (Laughter.) But trying very hard to make the case along both the lines I just indicated, that is expansion as well as concentration of, in effect, authority in Kabul with Mr. Karzai. As a matter of fact, my friend from Kansas and I -- I mean from Nebraska and I went out -- he can say I'm from Maryland, if you'd like -- went out and introduced a piece of legislation that the chairman and others supported, that -- increasing funding made available for forces in Afghanistan a year ago, which were not drawn upon. And the administration did not push it in the appropriations process. So, that's by way of a long explanation of what I'm most interested in when we get to the questions and answers here. Again, I don't know anybody who knows the country better than you. I don't know anyone in my experience -- and I've tried to educate myself as diligently as I can over the last five years -- that is as well-connected and has as much access as you do. And I know from -- although I have not had a personal discussion with him in the last four months -- that's not true -- the last two months, President Karzai has faith in you as well. And so, as we get to questions, which will be in a moment, I would like you -- and I realize you're the -- you'll be the -- you're the ambassador-designee, and you are the one who will implement administration policy, I realize you don't make the policy, and I realize some of my questions may or may not put you in a position where you may be at odds with what some of the policy has been. I respect that you will -- you may not wish to answer, or if you answer, you may be able to recast my question. But the bottom line for me is, I think we're in jeopardy of losing Afghanistan to become a failed state again. And if you look at U.N. agency warning recently -- something we've been warning about, you've been warning about -- is that Mr. Costas (sp) speaking for the U.N. agency regarding opium, points out that "there's a palpable risk that Afghanistan will again return to a failed state, this time in the hands of drug cartels and narcoterrorists. The country is at a crossroads. Either energetic interdiction measures are taken now and supported by the international community, or the drug cancer in Afghanistan will keep spreading like -- and metastasize into corruption, violence, and terrorism within and beyond the country's borders," Costa warned. And as you know, the opium farmers, and primarily the traffickers, brought home about $2.3 billion, or about half the country's legitimate gross domestic product in the year 2003, according to this report, which I don't think many people dispute. So, we've got a lot of work cut out for us. You have a gigantic responsibility. But I, quite frankly, can't think of anybody we could better have in this position, and I sincerely thank you for being willing to take on this responsibility. And with that, Mr. Chairman, I will reserve my questions to my opportunity when we get there. SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Biden. Let me just ask my colleagues -- each of you have already fulfilled other assignments in other committees, and we're going to have a vote shortly -- if either one of you will not be able to return after the vote, I would like to call upon you now for questions, because I will be returning after the vote -- (chuckles) -- to continue the rest of the hearing. But would either one of you like to proceed? SEN. BIDEN: Well, I have a number -- I'll just stick to two, if I might. SEN. LUGAR: Why don't you proceed, Senator Biden? SEN. BIDEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Zal, the -- you know better than I do -- the U.N. recently approved the request -- approved NATO's request to expand ISAF beyond Kabul, and as I said earlier, a view that many of us thought is about two years late. And the question I have is, and I'll be very blunt with you, is that - - and I'm pleased the administration has dropped its opposition to ISAF expansion, but I don't know, quite bluntly, whether it represents a genuine change of attitude or merely, as Secretary Rumsfeld might put it, a tactical recalibration here. Is the U.S. support of ISAF expansion limited to the current plan for Germany's assumption of the provisional reconstruction teams in Kunduz, or are we planning for a genuine expansion that goes beyond that? Can you give us your best, most accurate idea of what the administration's plan is relative to ISAF? MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you very much, Senator Biden, for first, the kind remarks you made about me. I also want to thank the chairman for his very kind comments. With regard to ISAF-NATO expansion, I have felt -- and you and I have talked about this from the beginning -- that ultimately, the answer to Afghanistan's security problem is Afghan institutions that can handle the problem. And therefore, we have been working on the Afghan National Army and the building of the national police force. Legal reform, that could be fair laws fairly applied. However, the challenge that we faced and we continue to face is what to do in the transition, since it's going to take some time to stand up those Afghan institutions. And ISAF -- Kabul was one, and the possibility of ISAF in other parts of Afghanistan as a transitional measure -- had been an option since the beginning, in my own mind. And there are a variety of reasons for why things have taken as long as they have, but I can assure you, Senator, that our decision to support the ISAF-NATO expansion to Kunduz German PRT as a -- is not limited to that. We -- as you probably have noticed, the Security Council resolution removed the restriction on ISAF which was limited to Kabul and its vicinity. That restriction has been removed. We will see and greatly support what happens in Kunduz and look beyond Kunduz. The important thing is not only support conceptually by others to the idea, but commitment of resources that will make the commitment real. And we urge our NATO partners to make a real commitment, to make sure that the Kunduz commitment is real and has -- and NATO forces have all what they need to do the job -- NATO, ISAF. And similarly, we support the secretary-general of NATO's effort to look beyond, to -- beyond Kunduz. SEN. BIDEN: If I can conclude, Mr. Chairman, on this point, by saying that in speaking to some of our NATO partners, it'll not surprise you that there is some doubt on their part about how robust the administration's support is. I can remember, at the time, each of the countries with whom I spoke, starting with the Brits, were saying that we're -- I think the British general, whose name I can't remember -- (to staff) -- what -- MR. : McCall. SEN. BIDEN: McCall. MR. : General McCall. The first -- SEN. BIDEN: General McCall, who's the first -- MR. : Yes, ISAF commander -- SEN. BIDEN: -- ISAF commander, used a sort of what I consider classically British phrase. He said, "If the big dog's not in the pen, the small dogs aren't going to want to be there." MR. KHALILZAD: Right. SEN. BIDEN: "And we're one of the small dogs," referring to the Brits, he was referring. And yet the administration seems to be willing to underwrite allied military operations in Iraq, which I am not criticizing, while insisting that any peacekeeping efforts by our allies in Afghanistan be self-sustaining. Now I understand that as well, to a point. But a little over a year ago, the Congress authorized, in the legislation led by my colleague and which I supported, the -- a $1 billion expansion of ISAF, the so- called Freedom Support Act. And we authorized that billion dollars. The -- we voted for that. It was authorized. And so -- and then during the debate on Iraq, what the three of us referenced in that debate -- and a few others did -- is the $21 billion is not just for Iraq. There's money in it for Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, I attempted -- and failed -- to try to reallocate some of that funding, to increase the allocation for Afghanistan and cutting out things that I thought were a little fat in the request, relative to Iraq. So my concluding question is, why is there the degree of skepticism I believe still exists among our -- our NATO allies from the outset said, "Unless you are" -- are we guaranteeing them lift capacity, intelligence and extraction? Which was three things that they kept, you know, redundantly, you know, stating that we need in order to be part of this -- lift, intelligence and extraction, if need be. And secondly, is there any interest or is there any desire on the part -- intention on the part of the administration to attempt to tap the Freedom Support Act or seek any monies beyond what was in the -- this $87 billion we're working our way through now? And I have no further questions. MR. KHALILZAD: Senator, with regard to the first question, are we willing to support NATO/ISAF efforts beyond Kabul, in terms of similar to what we are doing in Kabul, because we have an understanding, an agreement with ISAF Kabul, and this agreement has worked extremely well. Both sides are very pleased with it. And we are willing to do the same for Kunduz and beyond. With regard to your second question, I'll -- I'll have to consult with my colleagues and get back to you in writing. But in Afghanistan in particular, there is a lot more cooperation and understanding internationally among major players. And it's my hope, and I will continue to press for it, that we ought to press others who may be reluctant to do as much as we would like in Iraq that they're welcome to do more in Afghanistan; and that I will attempt to better coordinate among the major players and donors, if it's the will of the Senate I'm confirmed, when I go there, to encourage and help others to do more and to be able to accomplish more towards our common objective in Afghanistan. SEN. BIDEN: Well, a closing editorial comment. I am happy to hear you say that, because I think -- and maybe some of my colleagues feel this way as well -- that we should be able to use Afghanistan as a way to put back together the pieces that have been broken as a consequence of, in my view -- speaking only for me -- the unfortunate developments in the way we've dealt with our allies in Iraq. And so this ought to be -- this could be a "twofer." This could be one where we actually are able to generate more international support and at the same time begin to heal wounds, heal rifts. MR. KHALILZAD: Right. SEN. BIDEN: And I know you're good at that, and I look forward to working with you. I look forward to seeing you in Kabul. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you. SEN. BIDEN: And I wish you well. And Mr. Chairman, I will attempt to come back after the vote. But you have my proxy if -- I'm prepared to vote out Zal today. I realize that's a little rushing things, but I think the sooner we get him on the ground, in place, the better off we're going to be and the better off the prospects for Afghanistan are. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you, Senator. I appreciate it. SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Biden. Senator Hagel, do you have questions you would like to raise? SEN. CHARLES HAGEL: (R-NE): I know we have just begun a vote, Mr. Chairman. I have one quick question. SEN. LUGAR: Please. SEN. HAGEL: And I would appreciate the opportunity to ask it. SEN. LUGAR: Yes. SEN. HAGEL: And thank you for your courtesy, Mr. Chairman. Would you give us a brief, succinct summary of where you believe we are now in Afghanistan with the constitution-writing process, are the elections on schedule for next year, and anything that you could add to clarify at least your understanding of the prospects for an elected government being in place, as we have hoped it would be soon, and are we on schedule? MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you, Senator. Despite the difficulties that Afghanistan has had and the government in Afghanistan has had, given the 20, 25 years of war that characterize that country, we are essentially on track with regard to the political track of Bonn and the agreement that was the basis for this government coming to being. And on the constitution, there is a commission, and this commission has produced a draft, it has consulted with Afghans in various parts of the country, and I think the draft is in its final phases. It should be out in the next several days as a draft. The constitutional loya jirga which is mandated by the Bonn agreement must take place before the end of this year, based on Bonn. And the current plan is -- and I think they're likely to implement it on the -- starting on the 10th of December, this -- the process for selecting delegates to this constitutional convention, or constitutional loya jirga, has started. And it is -- based on conversations I've had with people involved, it's going extremely well. As far as elections are concerned, the Bonn agreement runs out, if you like, in June of '04. And by then in June there should be an election, as mandated by Bonn. And as far as we're concerned, we expect that election to take place. I think some people are beginning to organize themselves for that election, and there are some people who have announced themselves as candidates for various offices. But that is -- we still have some time. So the immediate thing to focus on is the constitutional convention. We need a good draft, a good draft and a constitution that puts Afghanistan on the right path in terms of a democratic future system that can work and allows the people of Afghanistan to determine their own future, to elect their leaders, and recognize the various balances that need to be maintained in the country for it to work. SEN. HAGEL: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. SEN. LUGAR: Thank you very much, Senator Hagel. I will recess the committee at this point with apologies to you and who is to follow. But we will -- cast your vote, be back shortly, and commence the questioning. SEN. BIDEN: Mr. Chairman, if you'll indulge me for 30 seconds. I also want to apologize to Ms. Oliver, who is a -- received a very strong recommendation from Governor DuPont, one of the most respected voices in my state, for the job that she has been nominated for, and I intend to support her. And I have asked for a hearing to be held in the Judiciary Committee on another matter. And since I was the one that requested the hearing, I'm going to -- I'm going to have to go back to that hearing. But I apologize. And Ms. Tutwiler is obviously qualified for the job, and so I compliment the president on his three nominees. But I do apologize for not being able to come back after this vote. SEN. HAGEL: Mr. Chairman, may I add my enthusiastic endorsement as well for Ms. Oliver's nomination as well as Ms. Tutwiler's. I think these three nominees presented today are exemplary and deserve our strong enthusiastic support, and they will have mine. Thank you. SEN. BIDEN: I just wish GOPAC had helped me more when I ran. (Laughter.) I don't know, but -- SEN. LUGAR: My goodness! Well, before -- I'll excise that comment from the record -- (laughter). SEN. BIDEN: Note everybody laughed, and I didn't mean it, and I was only kidding, and you can strike the comment, actually. I'll ask unanimous consent that the comment be stricken from an otherwise serious undertaking area. SEN. LUGAR: I -- we all look forward to working with both sides of the aisle to get a business meeting, as Senator Biden has mentioned. I will recess the committee, and we'll be back very shortly. (Sounds gavel.) SEN. BIDEN: Thanks. Again, I'm sorry to screw you up on that. SEN. LUGAR: It's called an exclusionary rule. (Laughter.) (Recess.) SEN. LUGAR: (Sounds gavel.) The committee is called to order again. Dr. Khalilzad, as you have gathered, I suppose, from the questions of my colleagues -- and I would emphasize this point again on my own behalf -- that this committee has been very enthusiastic about the success of Afghanistan, and concerned about the resources that our country was devoting to that, and the urgency, the priority was perceived. And I don't think it's far-fetched, at least, that some of those anxieties came about, in part over the ISAF question that Senator Biden has just discussed. In briefings with Secretary Rumsfeld, for example, he emphasized our training of Afghan forces, the thought that there really has to be an indigenous armed force that can be successful. And no one disputed that, and we have been enthusiastic about the funds and the organization for recruitment. That has proceeded, some would say slowly, bit by bit, given the goal, the number of people in training or under arms is still very small. And so the problem still has been what do you do in the meanwhile to try to get some idea of the effectiveness of the central government. Now, when President Karzai came to the United States -- and time goes by rapidly, so I can't name the date and the time -- but it was a short visit. And his staff and the ambassador from Afghanistan to the United States suggested that in addition to his meeting with President Bush, which was the central focus of the trip, that he come by our committee. And we, in fact, had a hearing right in this very room, and we visited with President Karzai prior to the hearing. He came into the hearing room, it was certainly well-attended and well- publicized. But in the course of that hearing, my colleague, Senator Hagel, asked President Karzai to be aggressive in his visit with President Bush to ask for what he really needed, as opposed to being excessively courteous, deferential, or what have you, not that President Karzai needed that advice. But I think it indicates once again the enthusiasm of our group here almost having a cheerleading session with the president of Afghanistan, who was our witness -- to ask for what he needed to try to help get the focus, the centrality of that presidency with regard to the warlords, the borders, the military, the drug business and so forth. And in fact, other members sort of joined into this to such a point that President Karzai may have felt overwhelmed. I saw him subsequently in Amman at the World Economic Forum, and we had a good meeting with the president and five of his ministers, including the finance minister, an especially able man whom you know well. And at that -- he seemed to have recovered from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting by that point, and the overwhelming problems of all of our questions and exhortations, and had a five-year plan for Afghanistan, which was presented by the finance minister in detail, but with sizeable gaps in terms of who was going to fund what, and likewise, some monies pledged by various countries that were coming in slowly, as they sometimes do from these pledging efforts. But I was impressed with the organized effort, a five-year vision for the country. And of course, that included the constitutional convention coming to a successful conclusion, ratification of that convention, and then the elections -- or that would be ordained by that, that might follow. So I mention all of this in background because we keep cheerleading in this committee -- and this is not the purpose of the hearing for you today, this is a confirmation of your ambassadorship, but we sort of take each of these occasions, I suppose, to say that we are concerned about the resources, about the emphasis, about the priority and, frankly, about the ability of whoever is president of Afghanistan to extend that authority so there is, in fact, one Afghanistan as opposed to maps that we've all seen at various briefings -- depending on where we were from September 11th onward -- of parcels that are under control of if not warlords, somebody, and with often neighbors, neighboring countries, having a predominant influence. Now, I would say one piece of good news that has come is that President Karzai believes that he has sufficient control at the borders that he's actually collecting some customs duties. That's a good sign, that there's some revenue, some degree of control there. This is counter-balanced, however, by very bad news on the drug scene, in which overwhelming problems seem to be arising, and these are tough to deal with. And our United States forces are not well- equipped to deal with that, although we have been attempting in other places -- in Latin America and the Andean region -- for better or for worse, vigorously to try to stem a tide there that has been very, very destructive. Let me just ask this. To what extent -- you, after all, will be, if you're confirmed ambassador from the United States to the country -- you're not being designated to be almost an assistant president of the country, yet many of us are going to look to you, because of your extraordinary background and the fact that you have been involved in this diplomacy now for quite a while very successfully, as probably something more than a regular ambassador who simply conveys thoughts. And constitutionally your role is to represent the president and, through him, the foreign policy of our country, so you do not have full brief to do that. And that is one problem of our questions to you today. You have to, after all, ask the president or the secretary of State or others, "What is my portfolio? What are my boundaries?" On the other hand, are you in a position, has your counsel been well enough received to date that you are confident that somehow you are not going to go out for an ambassadorship in which things -- I wouldn't say fall apart at the seams, but nevertheless, seem to be continually unraveling? And we say, you know, why? Because, actually the ambassador is an astute person, he sort of knows what's going on, and yet the engine seems to be sort of falling apart during this process. That would be a very unfortunate experience for you, and tragic for us. And so I ask, do you have a view in your own mind's eye of what needs to happen in the country, and whether or not you have convinced the president, the secretaries of Defense or State or whoever else needs to be, that you have some confidence that you have their ear, that they understand you and the job that needs to be done? MR. KHALILZAD: Mr. Chairman, first of all, I want to salute you and the committee for your attention to Afghanistan and the direction and support that you have given in various hearings and statements and visits. I hope that when I am -- if it's the will of the Senate to confirm me -- in Kabul that I can remain in touch and seek your advice and guidance. SEN. LUGAR: We count upon that! (Chuckles.) MR. KHALILZAD: With regard to my understanding with the president, first, I believe myself, and I believe my colleagues know my views, that in Afghanistan, success is likely, provided that several things take place. And I think we're making progress. There are some trends that are not all together positive. But overall, I think we are heading strategically, as I would say, in the right direction. One, security is fundamental. Without security, everything else is at risk. And therefore, it's very important that we accelerate efforts to provide for increased security. The sources of insecurity are well known: It's the Taliban and al Qaeda, it is some faction leaders that behave as warlords, and it's the day-to-day law and order issues. And in order to deal with all of these -- of course, besides coalition forces, with participation now from the Afghan National Army, that we have about 5,000 of, we need Afghan police forces. And I think I have an understanding, given hopefully positive decision that I expect from the Congress, that we will produce 16,000 to 18,000 police in the course of the next year. That, I think, would help. With regard to the warlords, I think we are very much in favor of cooperation with the government at the center. Those leaders who behave as warlords, I think their future is in some serious question. I think they have choices to make. Afghanistan must succeed. They have been given an opportunity, thanks to the effort of the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. But our policy, our goal should be crystal clear to them. And I expect that an area that I will very much focus on would be to assist the government with our friends from other countries to extend an authority and get some of the faction leaders to cooperate, and if they don't cooperate, to find other line of work for them. It's very important that we improve the security situation in the country. Two, I think it's very -- also very important that we improve the economic infrastructure of the country. And that means laws, that means roads, that means airports, so that the private sector, which ultimately, both Afghan and non-Afghan, has to bring this country out of its poverty to a higher standard of living, can be unleashed. And therefore, as part of the acceleration that we have proposed, we have taken on, in addition to the multilateral efforts of -- in terms of building roads, that we will assist in building a thousand kilometers of roads, paving secondary roads in the course of next year. So I think that's very important. Also, I believe it's very important that the foundation for the future of Afghanistan politically is laid appropriately, that sends the right message in terms of a direction for the country. And that's why the constitution and the coming election is so important. The president of the United States, Mr. Chairman, has told me that he is committed to success in Afghanistan. And the acceleration is an indication of his commitment. And the fact that he's asked me to go and has asked me to also remain as his special envoy while I am the ambassador is another indication that he wants to -- for me to be able to access him, to participate in the senior decision-making here about Afghanistan. I am hopeful, but we'll see. (Laughs.) And I think we have a historic opportunity, the people of Afghanistan have a historic opportunity, to do something right that will be good for them, good for us, and I intend to do my very best, Senator, to be of help in this regard. SEN. LUGAR: Well, we can't ask more than that pledge. I would just say that you have already very, very strong support in this committee, I think as has been witnessed today. Secretary Powell called Senator Biden, he called me, as you have proceeded, really, with your work as envoy -- MR. KHALILZAD: Right. SEN. LUGAR: -- to say, now, this is not necessarily irregular, but it's unusual for a nominee for ambassadorship of a country to be dealing in these ways. But nevertheless, it's vital for our country, and we both agreed completely it was absolutely vital for you to be doing all of these things, even while you are technically in the nomination process and the confirmation process. And I think this is a testament to our confidence in you, but likewise to the importance that we place upon success of Afghanistan. Finally, after all these years of being trampled by all of the neighbors, but never really having the international backing to have a constitutional government that covered the whole country -- now the neighbors are still there -- Pakistan, Iran. We had a long hearing yesterday on Iran, in which Afghanistan was part of the focus of the witnesses. And here, clearly, the record is ambiguous, but nevertheless not altogether distressing. In many ways, Iranians have been cooperative, or at least we've been in conversation with them; likewise with Pakistanis. However, there are old relationships along the borders and in provinces that impinge on those countries, and that's complex. And you understand that and probably will be touch with your colleagues, our ambassadors to Pakistan and Iran, as well as State Department people, to make sure we all are seeing the thing as a whole region, in addition to the specific country assignments we have. Likewise the military problems that continue on the border with Pakistan in Afghanistan are severe. There are Americans in jeopardy and brave people searching. So that goes on even while you are trying to build roads and think about the commerce that might crisscross that country in its ideal position, geographically, to be a conveyance of transportation of goods and services in a commercial and a legitimate way. So all of these things are your aspirations. We just simply wanted to share with you that they are ours, too. And we do look forward to your reports to us, likewise your requests for ways in which we can be advocates within our government and help you. Well, having said all of that, I appreciate, again, your testimony, likewise your patience throughout our hearing process this morning. And we look forward to early action on the nomination. Thank you for coming. MR. KHALILZAD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate it very much. Thank you.
Posted By: mariam   November 3rd 2003, 2003 11:16 AM
Kabul: Partial Reconstructions is an installation
and public dialogue project that explores the multiple meanings and resonances of
the idea of reconstruction -- as both process and metaphor -- in the context of present-day Kabul.
www.kabul-reconstructions.net is an online discussion forum, information resource, and medium for the communication of questions and answers about the reconstruction between people inside and outside the city of Kabul itself.