What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The NYT on the PRTs

The NYT has an elegant way of blending fiction with non-fiction. Although this is not a compliment, by way of some wishful thinking perhaps, they do manage to seamlessly weave together the two in the following passages of their account... of what Hamed Karzai did not say at the Munich security conference.
Title: "Karzai Seeks End to NATO Reconstruction Teams"
"Mr. Karzai also repeated his call for allied governments to stop using private security companies, contending that they, along with the civilian-military reconstruction teams, are an impediment to the central government’s expanding its authority throughout the country.
Mr. Karzai was asked several times whether he really wanted the teams to be wound up so quickly. “Yes,” he said."
You can find here, at the conference website, video of what Karzai actually said. (Pick "Sonntag -Hamed Karzai" and "Sonntag - Discussion" from the menu below the video.)
He did talk about parallel structures for spending money, for governing in terms of setting priorities, for providing security et cetera as being contrary to state-building, yes. He did mention, again, the 2014 target date for the Afghan takeover of responsibility that was set consensually with all of the external stakeholders involved (let us leave aside the question of how realistic that target date is, for now). He did indicate that by this date, actually inevitably, if we take this date seriously, PRTs and private security would be a bit of a contradiction with the, by then, supposedly accomplished goal of having built a self-sustaining Afghan state.
What Karzai did not do was call for a "so quick" "wounding up" of "NATO reconstruction teams". Altering someone's message this much seems rather negligent.

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