Hekmatyar To Obama: "Main Beneficiaries From Afghanistan War Are Russians and Iranians"

Afghan warlord and Islamic Party leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar sent U.S. President-elect Barack Obama a lengthy letter recently, in which he addressed several issues related to the situation in Afghanistan, according to an article posted by al Jazeera's bureau chief in Islamabad Ahmed Mowafaq Zidane on his blog.

The letter began by warning Obama not to continue the policies of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, in Afghanistan and Iraq, as Hekmatyar argued it represents a serious threat to world peace and security.

Hekmatyar argues that the right thing to do now would be to withdraw from Afghanistan and leave the Afghan people to choose their representatives themselves. "Wasn't it enough killing 800 thousand Iraqis and Afghans to avenge those killed on September 11, 2001? Two hundred and sixty Afghan and Iraqi people were killed for every American killed in those events!" said Hekmatyar.

Hekmatyar also drew a comparison between Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of the number of foreign and local troops. He told the president-elect that if in Iraq, which has a relatively easier geography compared to mountainous Afghanistan, there were more than 150.000 U.S. and foreign troops in addition to 600.000 Iraqi troops and tribal militiamen, and yet the occupation failed to assert any control over the country, how do they expect to succeed in Afghanistan?

Hekmatyar also talked extensively about the U.S.-Iranian relations and the cooperation between the two countries in Afghanistan. He told Obama that the Afghans have learnt that deals on the relations with Iran, similar to those concluded by President Bush before the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, are currently being decided at the White House.

The letter added that the Iranian strategy was to keep the war running in Afghanistan by supporting armed groups and encouraging Americans to maintain their military presence in the country. According to Hekmatyar, Iran 's strategic goal is to block any access to oil and gas from the markets of Central Asia through Afghanistan. He warned that the Iranian influence has grown and expanded considerably under the American umbrella, "Influence that Iranian leaders would never have dreamed of nor imagined," Hekmatyar said.

He also argued that the main beneficiaries from the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan were the Russians and the Iranians, and not the Americans. He referred to the fall of Kabul in the hands of Iranian and Russian allies, while those loyal to the U.S. do not enjoy any popularity amongst Afghan people.

Hekmatyar also tackled the negative effect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the image of the U.S. worldwide, saying that the Americans in Afghanistan ended up fighting the people of Afghanistan instead of fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban. He said tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the war at the hands of the Americans and added that this precipitated a wave of hatred for everything that's American.

He ended his letter by telling Obama that the presence of 200 thousand U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the death of 5000 troops, and injury of 50 thousand others did not help America control the world, not did it finish off the al Qaeda and the Taliban, or eradicate drug cultivation or control the oil and gas markets of Central Asia.