American Security Project’s director of external relations, Paul Hamill, is quoted in the National Journal’s article “The Sneaky Solution to Washington’s Karzai Problem.” President Karzai is frustrating the Obama Administration’s attempt at signing a new security pact that would allow troops to stay in Afghanistan.
The security pact is a sensitive issue for many, and difficult to come to an agreement on during election season. According to Paul Hamill:
Allowing foreign powers to keep military bases and operate within the country is an extremely sensitive issue—one the Afghan people must fully buy into. By delaying the pact’s signing until after the upcoming elections, the agreement will have the benefit of following a campaign season that had provided the appropriate venue for differences of opinion to emerge—even if those opinions come from candidates who are calling for the U.S. to pull out of completely, Hamill said.”The worst of all worlds [would be] to get six months down the line and have a new president who does not want to implement the agreement,” said Hamill, who formerly worked as a contractor within Karzai’s presidential palace.
“We need the Taliban, who would campaign against it, to be part of the electoral process—to put down their weapons and fight at the ballot box,” Hamill said. “I fundamentally believe they would not win, and the Afghan people would choose to be part of the world community … but I think that decision process would be good for the long-term stability and strategic engagement with NATO and the U.S. so that anyone who wins the election can say, ‘I campaigned for the agreement and won.’ “