Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department step aside and permit Afghan Northern Front Leaders to take the lead in negotiating with Taliban and for the U.S. not to negotiate with representatives of the Taliban, led by terrorist leader Mullah Omar. He also asked the State Department to intervene and protect Afghan ethnic leaders from violence possibly linked to President Hamid Karzai and his associates and allow them visas to enter the United States to partake in meetings with Congressional leaders next month. In the last four days it has been reported that Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq and General Abdul Rashid Dostum were most likely victims of attempted assassinations.
“Negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, announced this week, will not succeed,” wrote Rohrabacher. “It is a civil war. Negotiations should take place between the warring parties, the Northern Front which represents the Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras, and the Taliban. As long as the Northern Front is not at the negotiating table, the war will continue…The United States should not enter into talks with Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban, or his representatives except to negotiate his surrender to US authorities for his terrorist acts against American citizens…
“Ignoring the decentralized nature of Afghanistan and relying on strategies which have clearly failed will not honor the sacrifices the United States has made. Ignoring the reality that sixty percent of Afghans are not Pashtuns and have a different cultural and ethnic heritage is truly an exercise in self delusion. As US military power recedes in the region, we must again count on the friendship of the Uzbeks, Tajiks, Hazaras and friendly Pashtuns to achieve our strategic goals and keep the Taliban from returning to power.”
Rep. Rohrabacher has been working to bring Mohaqiq, Dostum, and another leader, Ahmad Zia Massoud, to Washington, DC to address policy makers early in July. Before and after 9/11, Rohrabacher working against the misguided opposition of the State Department, attempted to create a dialogue between Members of Congress and the Northern Alliance, now known as the Northern Front.
These “ prominent Afghan ethnic leaders… are friendly toward the United States and actively support our government in its fight against extremism,” wrote Rep. Rohrabacher. “These individuals represent Hamid Karzai’s political opposition and the majority of the Afghan people.”
General Dostum was a key figure in the Northern Alliance when they, with US assistance, defeated the Taliban in 2001. However, since then, “they have been sidelined in favor of Mr. Karzai who rallies aggressive Pashtun notions to dominate a fragile multi-ethnic society,” said the letter.
“The recent events of the past four days, namely the assassination attempt against Mr. Mohaqeq and the use of Mr. Karzai’s appointed governor in Shibergan to attack General Dostum, are part of a consistent effort to obliterate ethnic opposition leaders who form the resistance against the Taliban and Pashtun domination of Afghanistan. These attacks come as Mr. Karzai has taken over military control of the country. I believe if not confronted forcefully, Karzai will undermine a democratic and political transition that our country has spent so much blood and treasure trying to secure…
“I respectfully request that you use the power of your office to help protect the lives of these valuable individuals and approve visas to permit them to come to Washington in July so they will be able to help us chart a way forward in Afghanistan and to ensure true negotiations take place between them and the Taliban.”
Rep. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.