Republican Congressman Steve King recently returned from an overseas trip where he met with members of Afghan’s “Northern Alliance” — a coalition of ethnic and religious groups united by their opposition to the Taliban.
“They fought the Taliban and pushed the Taliban out of Afghanistan. Now they’ve been cut out of the power arrangement in Afghanistan by a Karzi government that is not representative of the people that are represented by the Northern Alliance,” King says. “I think they need to be back in the mix and I’d like to see a regional representation and perhaps a new constitution emerge in Afghanistan that can better represent the people of the country.”
Iran has been one of the main countries backing the Northern Alliance, which controls about five percent of Aghanistan. King says the U.S. should step up its support of these rebels who’re fighting the Taliban and tell the Afghan government not to strike a power-sharing deal with the Taliban.
“The Obama Administration has made some remarks that would indicate they are at least considering such a proposal. If that’s the way we would be trying to extricate ourselves from Afghanistan, it would be a mistake,” King says. “We should remember what the Taliban did when they were in charge in Afghanistan…They are tyrannical people — cruel and evil — and they should not be sharing power with anybody and they should not be in power. And they’re the ones also that allowed al Qaeda to operate within their sphere of influence which brought about the September 11 attacks on us.”
Great Britain has been urging the U.S. to embrace the idea of negotiating a power-sharing arrangement within Afghanistan that would include the Taliban. The meeting King and a handful of other congressmen had with the Afghans was staged in Germany, for security reasons. King and the rest of the congressional delegation also made stops in India.
“India’s an emerging country that needs to be encouraged as an ally of ours…and one that may off-set some of the other powers on the continent,” King says. The congressional delegation visited Thailand, too, going to a northern area of Thailand that’s near Burma.
“Burma is seeking to build a nuclear weapon. They mind uranium there and there’s some mounting evidence that they are starting down the path that Iran started down some years ago. They are a long ways from it, but it looks like they are seeking to develop a nuclear capability,” King says. “So all of this was strategic. It’s important to find out what’s going on in that part of the world. You just can’t get that from reading the paper or from the briefings here at the capitol.”
Burma is ruled by military generals who have stamped down rebellions and refused to allow a pro-democracy group take power after it won nationwide elections in 1990. The country is the world’s number one supplier of teak, and is a primary source of rubies, sapphires and jade, but nearly all the 50 million residents of Burma are extremely poor.