WSN Editor-in-Chief interviewed by “Newsweek on Air”As a follow-up of WSN exclusive interview with LtGen Götz Gliemeroth, the German ISAF commander in Kabul, in WSN Newsletter Oct 28, 2003. ”Newsweek on Air” interviewed Dieter Farwick Dec 6.
David Alpern : General Farwick, from your interview with the NATO Commander in Afghanistan and from other sources - what emerges as the major obstacle to safety and security there ?
Dieter Farwick : Well, I think it is still the limited power of President Karzai beyond Kabul,
the insufficient number of NATO/US military forces to protect the “Provincial Reconstruction Teams”, in addition it’s the opposition by regional warlords, while there is no tradition and history of a nation-state Afghanistan. Afghanistan is still part of the Great Game in the Greater Middle East with different national interests from outside.
David Alpern : If reports about Al Quaida shifting money and men away from Afghanistan are true what would that mean for the NATO mission and President Karzai’s regime. Do you think it would be a significant benefit to them ?
Dieter Farwick : Well, I think it’s good news for Afghanistan, but it’s bad news for Iraq. I see better chances for NATO and USA to succeed in Afghanistan and to go on with the teams reconstructing the country outside Kabul.
David Alpern : You say, there is no history of a nation-state in Afghanistan. So what do you think about the prospects for building one from the outside with the Americans and NATO ?
Dieter Farwick : Well, I think it is very, very difficult and it will take a long, long time, because you have to convince the warlords that there are more benefits for them in a united state Afghanistan and that will be very difficult, because now they earn a lot of money with drugs.
David Alpern : What do you see as the shift in resources to Iraq meaning for the coalition forces there. What do you see as the best way to mobilise against this new Al Quaida
Dieter Farwick : Well, it is to mobilise the public and the politicians. I happened to be in Washington Sept 9 in 2001 and I realised the deep shock in the US population. We have to accept a world wide risk awareness and especially in Europe and Germany. I think we have to tell the people that Al Quaida is fighting a war against humanity and there is a need for world wide cooperation and a dynamic fight against Al Quaida. A fight in the non-military and military area.
David Alpern : Do you think the Europeans have lost sight of that ?
Dieter Farwick : Well, they never had that shock experience as you had Sept 11.So in my view there is too much business as usual after that attacks.