Nos. 33 & 34, December 2002
A flurry of articles and books has appeared in the US and UK making the case for, or simply announcing, a new type of colonialism, or direct rule by an imperial power. The authors, albeit intellectually pedestrian, are important and influential individuals. The sudden emergence of this new doctrine is significant: it is part of an explicit attempt to prepare public opinion for mainly US plans in the near future.
The entire history of colonialism, since its emergence five centuries ago, has been marked by points of resistance by the colonised peoples to their subjugation and plunder; but it was the twentieth century that witnessed the great worldwide awakening of the colonial peoples, particularly in the wake of the Russian revolution of November 1917. The colonial powers responded with exemplary violence, even slaughter. A price in tens of millions of lives all told was paid by the Algerian liberation struggle against French rule, the Indian independence movement, the Chinese peoples war against Japanese occupation, the armed struggles of the Indochinese peoples against French rule and the Malay against British rule, the liberation struggles of the peoples of South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia, and many others.
At that terrible price, then, such struggles shattered the legitimacy of colonialism, and established the right of nations to determine their own future, free from force and imperialist intervention. The struggle took the whole century, with South Africa just in the last decade ending formal white settler rule. Before the Russian revolution imperialist powers had hardly needed to bother to justify or legitimise colonialism, but after World War I the League of Nations (the predecessor to the United Nations) felt obliged to set up a system of mandates, whereby various great powers would guide territories which were deemed not yet ready for governing themselves. Such disguises for colonialism, too, faced fierce opposition from those who were to be so guided. Finally, in the second half of the century, imperialism was forced to give up direct rule of the third world.
No doubt the imperialist powers quickly adapted to the new situation by greatly refining and expanding the system of indirect rule, or neo-colonialism, such as they already exercised over some other parts of the world. Indeed they could in many cases even intensify exploitation under such arrangements. But they were never reconciled to giving up the option of direct rule. Even when, as in Vietnam, the US sent in troops and effectively occupied the country, it felt compelled to set up a puppet regime in whose defence it claimed to be fighting.
Today, basking in the warm glow of its unchallenged global supremacy, the US has felt confident to set up near-colonial arrangements in certain countries. What else could one call the outcome of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, where the administration of Bosnia is run by an appointed High Representative, not a Bosnian; the soldiers who guard the region are foreigners (Europeans and Americans); and police, judges, prison officers, even central bankersare foreigners? The territorys local police are financed and trained by the UN. Elections are organised and monitored by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
After the NATO assault on Yugoslavia in 1999, the Bosnian set-up was replicated for Kosovo. In the wake of its invasion of Afghanistan, the US has installed a near-colonial arrangement in that country too. And now, as we shall see below, it appears that the US has plans for going even further in parts of West Asia, beginning with Iraq.
Justifying the new colonising mission
The theoretical justification, such as it is, provided by Cooper (and parroted by Wolf) is that advanced states face a threat from pre-modern states such as Afghanistan. The former can disregard the national sovereignty of the latter, since The pre-modern world is a world of failed states. Here the state no longer fulfils Webers criterion of having the monopoly on the legitimate use of force... Cooper includes vast vague swathes of the world in this category: Some areas of the former Soviet Union.... including Chechnya. All of the worlds major drug-producing areas.... Until recently there was no real sovereign authority in Afghanistan; nor is there in upcountry Burma or in some parts of South America... All over Africa countries are at risk. No area of the world is without its dangerous cases....
How can such feeble regimes pose a threat to the worlds most powerful countries? Cooper surmounts this awkward hurdle by arguing that such regimes can provide a base for non-state actors who may represent a danger to the postmodern [advanced] world.... If they become too dangerous for established states to tolerate, it is possible to imagine a defensive imperialism.
Interestingly, not only security conditions in the failed states, but even the failure of such states to follow economic policies promoted by the advanced countries appears to justify colonisation. Cooper frets that the need for colonisation is as great as it ever was in the nineteenth century. Those left out of the global economy risk falling into a vicious circle. Weak government means disorder and that means falling investment and thereby, presumably, chaos. Cooper calls for A world in which the efficient and well-governed export stability and liberty, and which [world] is open for investment and growth. (emphasis added) Martin Wolf describes a failed state as afflicted with, among other things, inefficient economic policies aimed at favouring particular groups. High fiscal deficits, inflation, costly protection against imports and repression of the financial system....
According to Wolf, If a failed state is to be rescued, the essential parts of honest governmentabove all the coercive apparatusmust be provided from outside. (emphasis added) Cooper says that The most logical way to deal with chaos, and the one most employed in the past is colonisation. (emphasis added) But today, he acknowledges, it would require better packaging: What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values.2
The hub of the current colonial apologetics is in the US. Here there is not talk of a defensive imperialism. Rather, empire is a positive mission. Charles Krauthammer bluntly calls for a new imperium. Kaplans book Warrior Politics argues for a crusade to bring prosperity to distant parts of the world under Americas soft imperial influence. According to Kaplan, Theres a positive side to empire. Its in some ways the most benign form of order. Ikenberry too sees Americas imperial goals and modus operandi as benign. Far blunter is former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who describes the main task of the United States in the preservation of its empire as being to prevent collusion and maintain dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together. (emphasis added)
Necessary to having an empire is the ability to declare that it is yours; so quite naturally the Americans are fed up with lingering inhibitions in this regard. People are now coming out of the closet on the word empire, says Krauthammer. The fact is no country has been as dominant culturally, economically, technologically and militarily in the history of the world since the Roman Empire. As John Bellamy Foster points out, in stark contrast to the past, when using the word imperialist would mark one as a leftist, now U.S. intellectuals and the political elite are warmly embracing an openly imperialist or neoimperialist mission for the United States, repeatedly enunciated in such prestigious print media as the New York Times and Foreign Affairs. The words empire and imperialism have regained academic respectability: Johns Hopkins University foreign policy expert Charles Fairbanks calls the US an empire in formation; Stephen Peter Rosen, head of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, writes that Our goal [that of the American military] is not combating a rival, but maintaining our imperial position, and maintaining imperial order.
The brazenness is startling. In his article The Case for American Empire, where he calls for the military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, Max Boot of the Wall Street Journal invokes the legacy of the British imperial past: Afghanistan and other troubled lands today cry out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets. The historian Paul Johnson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, envisages a sprawling direct empire:
According to the apologists of US superpower politics, once American troops occupied a country, the earlier terrorist state presumably would no longer exist; so whence the continuing obduracy in those states? What is left unstated is that the people of the country might continue to resist, making American military rule unavoidable.
The US is evidently contemplating devising international legal instruments for legitimising such arrangements. Well-known establishment intellectuals of the breed cited above do not merely in some general way reflect the mood of the times or ruling class interests: they also reflect specific discussions with senior officials and politicians. Perhaps this explains the uncanny coincidence of their views. Wolf considers that Some form of United Nations temporary protectorate can surely be created; Boot wants to revive the League of Nations mandate system; and Johnson chimes in:
A glance at the behaviour of the US during the last year confirms that Wolf, Boot, Johnson and their ilk reflect current official thinking.
An international force under American direction polices the capital. The Times of India (21/12/01) reported that the US and its tail the UK demanded the force have an open-ended mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, allowing them to undertake coercive operations, make arrests and use force in situations other than just self-defence. Washington also wants the UN-mandated force to function under the overall control of the US armys Central Command (Centcom). This would allow the force to dovetail its activities to the wider US military campaign in Afghanistan, which Washington says will continue even though Al Qaeda and the Taliban no longer control territory. As for duration, the US and Britain want an open-ended tenure rather than the early sunset clause favoured by Russia and France.... Mr Abdullah [foreign minister-designate], in fact, had told the UN Security Council the international force should have a Chapter VI mandate allowing it to use force only in self-defence. Under US pressure, however, Mr Karzai overruled Mr Abdullah and assented to the tougher Chapter VI mandate giving the forcewhich Britain declared unilaterally that it would lead a freer hand.
In March 2002 it was announced that the US was to help fund and train the new Afghan army. The assessment of the requirements of this force was carried out by the chief of staff of US Central Command.
Meanwhile the US continues war operations in various parts of the country without reference to the supposed government of the country. On December 4, 2001, Richard Haass, the director of the US state departments policy planning staff, said he saw no problem in us continuing the war even as the new interim authority goes about its business.
On December 20, acting on information from a warlord, the US bombed a convoy of pro-Karzai village elders travelling to Kabul to attend Karzais inauguration. As the survivors scrambled up a hill towards two villages, the planes circled back and bombed the two villages, exacting a death toll of 42.
On December 29 the US planes bombed Qala Niazi village, slaughtering, according to a UN spokeswoman, 52 villagers. At this point defence minister Mohammed Fahim called for a halt to the US bombing. Village elders in eastern Afghanistan complained that hundreds of villagers were being killed. However, the following day the chairman of the interim government, Hamid Karzai, voiced his support for the bombing campaign. The US special envoy to Afghanistan said that while he regretted the civilian casualties (War is a very imperfect business), bombing would go on till the goals were met.
On January 30 US Special Forces killed 16 officials of the regime in a district and took 27 prisoner. The Afghan government, such as it is, protested that the victims were their own officials, including the district police chief, but the Pentagon merely reasserted that they were a legitimate target.
On July 1, 2002, apparently on the suspicion that Taliban leaders were attending a wedding at Kakarak in Uruzgan province, US planes bombed four villages, slaughtering over 60 innocent villagers, wiping out whole families in a night. In the morning, American forces entered the village, stormed the houses, tied the hands of men and women and did not allow people to help the victims or take them away for treatment or even cover the dead bodies, from which the clothes had been burnt off. Apparently for US military records, the soldiers filmed and photographed the dead bodies, including of the women. (See Marc W. Herold, The massacre at Kakarak, Frontline, 16/8/02)
The Kakarak episode put the Karzai regime under pressure. Hundreds of Afghans (half of them women) marched in Kabul to protest the killingan unprecedented development. Karzai huddled with the commander of the allied forces in Afghanistan, Lt Gen Dan K. McNeill. The Afghan foreign minister called for a role for the Afghan government in deciding about the air strikes.
These pleas were ignored, the Pentagon defended its action, and the US continued its strikes. As one of the Kakarak survivors said to a correspondent, Karzai is just a traffic cop working for the Americans.
There could hardly be a more striking expression of the isolation and dependence of the present regime than President Karzais decision in July to remove his earlier bodyguards and replace them with American troops. We know there could be a great political cost from doing this, said a western diplomat, but that price, no matter how much, will be less than losing the president (not attempting to hide that Karzai was his countrys property to lose). Karzai is not alone: a core of senior ministers has also adopted US bodyguards. In August the US announced that responsibility for Karzais security would now be taken over by the US state department diplomatic security service for at least a year.
An attempt was made to confer some sort of legitimacy on Karzai by arranging a loya jirga, a traditional assembly or parliament of delegates of the various tribes and communities in Afghanistan, to pick a new government. The delegates were carefully screened to exclude all troublesome elements. Nevertheless, at the affair itself, some 60-70 delegates walked out in protest at the proceedings. Some delegates pointed out that the number of participants was 1700, instead of 1550 elected delegates as announced, and that among the extra, unelected participants were many warlords and their henchmen. Many tribal delegates... expressed concern at theoutside influence overshadowing the event. All were aware the American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, had been the first to announce the former king would stay out of government, after intense backroom politicking delayed the assembly opening by 24 hours. The kings decision means Mr Karzai has no serious challenger as president. This is not a democracy, Sima Samar, the womens affairs minister, said yesterday. This is a rubber stamp. Everything has already been decided by the powerful ones. (Independent, 12/6/02; emphasis added)3
Quite apart from the surrender of sovereignty in other respects, the directive to curb all domestic expression of support for terrorism against the United States constituted a takeover of Pakistani political life. As American airstrikes began on October 7, Pakistan was rocked by repeated protests against the assault on Afghanistan. The Pakistani government responded with vigorous repression. On October 9 police fired killing three protesters in Kuchlak town; on October 12 tear gas was fired at protesters in Karachi; on October 14 three persons were killed in firing on thousands of protesters at Jacobabad, where US forces were stationed (even as the Pakistani government denied their presence); October 15 witnessed a general strike in Pakistan against Powells visit; on October 23 the government was forced to seal off Jacobabad town to prevent an attempt by people to surround the base; on October 24 Karachi witnessed a stormy funeral gathering for 35 Harkat militants killed by a US bomb in Kabul; and Agence France Presse reported that an October 26 rally in the same city mobilised 50,000. By this point Musharraf, obediently implementing the American directive to curb all domestic expressions of support to the Taliban, had detained thousands nationwide, including most of the prominent political leaders opposing the US invasion of Afghanistan.
According to a poll taken in October 2001 by the American organisation Gallup, 83 per cent of Pakistanis said they supported the Taliban; 82 per cent termed Osama bin Laden a mujahid (a just warrior) and not a terrorist; and 75 per cent opposed Musharrafs decision to allow the US to use Pakistani bases. (Asian Age, 16/10/02) In other words, Musharraf had to curb (in fact suppress) the expression of opinions held by the overwhelming majority of his citizens.
To help the US prosecute its so-called war against terror, Pakistan has signed a defence pact which allowed US forces to replenish their supplies via its territory, and to use its facilities for training, joint military exercises and other operations. Thanks to the invasion of Afghanistan, the US now has acquired four bases in the PakistanJacobabad, Shamsi, Dalbandin, and Pasni (on the coast)without any formal invasion of Pakistan.
The entire police, security, and intelligence apparatus of Pakistan is being openly subordinated to the US, and the loyalty of its personnel to the new masters is being checked. On December 3, immediately following the visit of George Tenet, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pakistans law minister Shahida Jamil said that the US, EU and Japan were providing professional training to Pakistani security forces and will provide modern investigation facilities. The Asian Development Bank had promised a $350 million three-year concessional loan for police and judicial reforms. The Times of India reported (6/12/01) that Mr Tenets visit will result in greater US intelligence and law enforcement presence in Pakistan to keep track of jehadi elements and organisations. Already, the FBI has been deployed at major Pakistani airports to monitor the movement of jehadis and terrorists.
According to an American news channel, Pakistan has signed a secret agreement with the US to allow hot pursuit of Al Qaeda fighters over the border with Afghanistan. The secret deal will allow US troops to hunt the fighters on the ground and fire on them from the air within Pakistans borders. (Times of India 21/12/01) In April the Pakistani press reported that US troops were operating in the country. This was denied by Pakistani officials. A foreign ministry spokesman said that when president Musharraf said there were some (US) officials inside Pakistan for communicating purposes, he was referring to a few members of the FBI. Meanwhile, in the US, officials acknowledged that US special operations forces were chasing Al Qaeda or Taliban in Pakistan.
In the past, even the Pakistani army had never policed the fiercely independent tribal areas of the northwest frontier, but had left it to the tribes themselves. However, the US now dictated otherwise. In May, the Pakistani paper The News reported Pakistani officials plea to US assistant secretary of state Christina Rocca that the US stop carrying out direct raids in tribal areas. They asked that Pakistani troops be used instead. It appears from a report of September 2002 that the Pakistani army is now carrying out operations in these regions with the support of US agencies, hunting for Al Qaeda/Taliban.
As the US presence grows in the region, Islamic militants have stepped up their attacks on foreigners in Pakistan. This in turn has provided an excuse for US agencies to expand their presence further. Whether after the March 19 bombing of an Islamabad church in which two members of American diplomats families were among those killed, the May 9 Karachi bombing in which French submarine engineers (but no Americans) were killed, or the car bombing outside the US consulate in Karachi,in the investigations into all of these incidents the FBI has been directly involved, inspecting the site and questioning suspects along with the Pakistani police.
Indeed they are now involved not only in investigation but even in hunting down suspects and making arrests within Pakistan. On September 14, 2002 Ramzi bin al-Shibh, claimed to be an important Al Qaeda leader, was arrested in Karachi in a joint FBI-CIA-Pakistani operation. The FBI and Pakistani intelligence agencies are investigating them, said senior police officer. The FBI and Pakistan ISI had initially raided the place and arrested two suspects, but later the police were called out to help in the operation when other suspects present in the building retaliated. (Asian Age, 15/9/02) Ramzi bin al-Shibh was then handed over to the US to be transported to their concentration camp in Guantanamo, Cuba. The same fate had some months earlier befallen another Al Qaeda operative, Abu Zubaydah.
In the past, too, Pakistan had handed over Ramzi Yousef (suspect in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre) and Aimal Kasi (who shot two CIA employees in the US in 1993) without any formal extradition, which would require a legal process within Pakistan. However, the present traffic is on a much larger scale. On June 19, Amnesty International pointed out that Pakistan was flouting its own laws and violating human rights by arresting and deporting hundreds of people from Pakistan in pursuit of the US-led war on terrorism. Pakistan, said Amnesty, is making arbitrary arrests and sending suspects back to their home countries to face possible torture and execution. The rule of law has been swept aside. Detainees are not treated in accordance with either Pakistani or international law. Human rights protection has been thrown out the window. Who is being held where is unknown. Detainees are cut off from family and lawyers and there are no official notices.
Clearly, Pakistan is not preparing the lists of persons to deport. All this is being done under the direction of, indeed in the physical presence of, American agencies. The US, having kidnapped such persons from Pakistan with the help of the Pakistani state, thereafter keeps them in legal limbo and in appalling conditions in Guantanamo concentration camp, perhaps even torturing them with sophisticated means. When the US finds that it no longer has any use for some of them, it returns them like so much waste paper to Pakistan, with the comment that they could not be connected to terrorism. The US has similarly deported some of the Pakistani citizens whom it has detained within the US as part of its nationwide arbitrary round-up of Muslims. Pakistan accepts them all back without a murmur; not even the pretense of sovereignty or representation of its citizens is permitted.
The US is showing impatience with the Pakistani legal system, including the judiciary. The release of a Lashkar-e-Toiba leader by a Pakistan court on November 20, 2002, because he had been unlawfully detained, drew the warning from US state department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker that Pakistani law enforcement agencies, just like law enforcement agencies around the world, must ensure that those responsible for terrorist crimes are brought to justice. Presumably the necessary changes will be covered in the $350 million package for police and judicial reform.
The US plans to re-shape not only the administration of Pakistan but Pakistani society itself. It has demanded changes in, or the closing down, of the madrassas, the traditional Islamic schools which it now considers a training-ground of anti-American militancy. It was not an American aid agency but the US National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice, who announced on February 1 that We are moving quickly with places like Pakistan, to help them improve their educational system.
Reform extends to the political system as well. Musharrafs farcical, rigged election for a parliament he has the right to dismiss at whimturned up an unexpected result. The pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid-e-Azam) did not win a majority, but the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a conglomeration of Islamic parties (headed by the same persons who had been detained during the invasion of Afghanistan), campaigning on an anti-US platform, won a large number of seats. Since no party won a majority, the MMA had to be considered as a partner in forming a government, but US intervention prevented it from assuming that role:
The US secretary of state Colin Powell confirmed this was the official US stand: progress towards a settlement must begin with reform within the Palestinian leadership. To move forward it is absolutely clear that the first step on the road map has to be reformed Palestinian leadership that can then bring the terror under control. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice grimly warned Palestinians that they must be aware of the consequences of their choice: The US respects the democratic processes, but if a leadership emerges that does not deal with terrorism, the US cannot deal with that... Until there is that change [along the lines desired by the US], a change that we are prepared to help actively bring about through international assistance, we are not going to be able to make progress on peace.
Magnanimously, Powell said he would be more than willing to consider retaining Arafat as a figurehead above a prime minister with real power. Nor was this a casual remark: Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, later revealed that in a Washington meeting Powell and Rice proposed that the Palestinian parliament implement such a formula. We were shocked during the discussions, said Erekat, that the American side is speaking about changing the law of elections. The US, he said, was trying to delay the balloting in order to give time for this.
All this despite Arafats years of prostration before the US and meekness before Israeli terrorism. Indeed, in response Arafat desperately denied that Bushs remarks referred to him, and wrote Powell a long letter describing the 100-day democratic reform programme he had introducedeven as the latter simply refused to meet him at all. The reform programme appears to have been drawn up in June by the chief of the CIA during a visit to the region on a mission to reshape Palestinian security services into a body that can restore some order. (Times of India 4/6/02)
As a first step, Arafat made changes in his cabinet, but these were contemptuously dismissed by the US. You can say we are underwhelmed. This does not complete the process of what needs to be done said a state department official. (Asian Age, 31/10/02) Washington was particularly annoyed that one of its favourites, interior minister Abdel-Razzak al-Yahya, was dropped.
As we have discussed elsewhere in this issue, the dominant section of the Bush administration, led by vice-president Cheney, has plans to reshape the entire region:
Among the proposals being discussed (and reported in the American press) are the invasion of Iran and Syria (two regimes which have not yet buckled to the US), the takeover of Saudi Arabia, an American ally with a US military base, and Egypt, whose leaders are the USs most faithful servants in the region. Meanwhile, Israel has serious plans to drive the Palestinian population of the occupied territories into neighbouring Jordan, ruled by an American client Hashemite monarchy. Jordan might also be one of the routes through which the US would launch the assault on Iraq. As a bribe, Jordan might be given some figurehead status in Iraq (a member of the Hashemite family ruled over Iraq till he was overthrown in 1958).
We have discussed these proposals elsewhere in this issue. These remain proposals, not final decisions. Here we mention them to indicate the massive expansion of direct imperialist occupation being contemplated.
No doubt this is occasionally clothed as spreading democracy in the region. While Bush has stated quite bluntly, and ad nauseam, that It is the stated policy of this government to have a regime change in Iraq. Condoleezza Rice says the US will then be completely devoted to the reconstruction of Iraq as a unified, democratic state.
By democracy she means American military dictatorship, as revealed by a remarkable article in the New York Times (11/10/02), which is worth quoting at length. All pretenses are dropped:
The course of this new colonising mission, however, is unlikely to run smooth, for three reasons.
First, as in earlier colonialism, the present mission is aimed not only at intensifying the plunder of third world countries, but at denying other imperialist countries space at the feeding trough (this we have discussed elsewhere in this issue).
Secondly, as James K. Galbraith writes, There is a reason for the vulnerability of empires. To maintain one against opposition requires warsteady, unrelenting, unending war. Galbraith points out that the current prosperity of the US does not mean that we have the financial or material capacity to wage continuing war around the world. Even without war, Bush is already pushing the military budget up toward $400 billion per year. Thats a bit more than 4 percent of the current gross domestic product. A little combaton, say, the Iraqi scale could raise this figure by another $100 billion to $200 billion. A large-scale war such as might break out in a general uprising through the Middle East or South Asia, with the control of nuclear arsenals at stake, would cost much more and could continue for a long time. (The Unbearable Costs of Empire, American Prospect, 18/11/02) In the middle of a grave recession with no end in sight, such a development could have a profound effect on the American economy.
Thirdly, as the American empire spreads, and its physical presence sprawls across the globe, it finds it increasingly difficult to focus on and crush the multiplying points of resistance. An alert piece in the Christian Science Monitor (9/10/02) picks up the trend even now:
History does not, cannot, repeat itself; for all the
actors and the political context have changed in the course of historical
developments. The enduring legacy of the great anti-colonial struggles
is the anti-imperialist consciousness of the people of the world, who
refusewhatever the weaknesses of their organisationto submit
2. Here is Blair doing the packaging to the Labour party conference in October: I believe this is a fight for freedom not only in the narrow sense of personal liberty but in the broader sense of each individual having the economic and social freedom to develop their potential to the full... The starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of Northern Africa to the slums of Gaza to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan: they too are our cause. (back)
3. Khalilzad, an Afghan-born US citizen, was earlier, like Karzai, an employee of the Texas oil company UNOCAL. That company, in its drive to lay a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and perhaps India, had funded and backed till 1998 the Talibans drive to conquer Afghanistan. Khalilzad is now the US special envoy for West Asia and Southwest Asia. Evidently he was not an elected delegate to the loya jirga, but participated in the role of viceroy, as it were. (back)
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