Den franske ambassadøren i Kabul, Bernard Bajolet, ga en avskjedssammenkomst og benyttet anledningen til å ta bladet fra munnen. Mye står på spill i Afghanistan og det er ikke sikkert Vesten vil få igjen for sin investering.
Det snakkes mye om at afghanerne skal ta over og at de er i stand til det. Men for det første er ikke afghanerne suverene. De er for avhengige av utenlandsk hjelp, og de bør se å sette sitt hus i orden, sa Bajolet. Verden vil i det lange løp ikke finansiere et korrupt land som er verdens største heroinprodusent.
“We should be lucid: a country that depends almost entirely on the international community for the salaries of its soldiers and policemen, for most of its investments and partly on it for its current civil expenditure, cannot be really independent.”
At his farewell party, Mr. Bajolet wound up his realpolitik with a brisk analysis of what Afghanistan’s government needed to do: cut corruption, which discourages investment, deal with drugs and become fiscally self-reliant. It must increase its revenues instead of letting politicians divert them, he said.
Several diplomats in the room could be seen nodding as he said that drugs caused “more casualties than terrorism” in Russia, Europe and the Balkans and that Western governments would be hard-put to make the case for continued spending on Afghanistan if it remains the world’s largest heroin supplier.
That the Afghan project is on thin ice and that, collectively, the West was responsible for a chunk of what went wrong, though much of the rest the Afghans were responsible for. That the West had done a good job of fighting terrorism, but that most of that was done on Pakistani soil, not on the Afghan side of the border. And that without fundamental changes in how Afghanistan did business, the Afghan government, and by extension the West’s investment in it, would come to little.
His tone was neither shrill nor reproachful. It was matter-of-fact.
“I still cannot understand how we, the international community, and the Afghan government have managed to arrive at a situation in which everything is coming together in 2014 — elections, new president, economic transition, military transition and all this — whereas the negotiations for the peace process have not really started,” Mr. Bajolet said in his opening comments.
He was echoing a point shared privately by other diplomats, that 2014 was likely to be “a perfect storm” of political and military upheaval coinciding with the formal close of the NATO combat mission in Afghanistan.
As for the success of the fight on the ground, which American leaders routinely describe now as being “Afghan-led,” Mr. Bajolet sounded dubious. “We do not have enough distance to make an objective assessment,” he said, “but in any case, I think it crucial that the Afghan highest leadership take more visible and obvious ownership for their army.”
Bajolet drar hjem for å bli leder for Frankrikes utenlandsetterretning: Direction Génerale de la Sécurité Extérieure