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Q+A: Brodie Kane interviews Dr Najibullah Lafraie

Sunday 26 August, 2012
 
Q+A: Brodie Kane interviews Dr Najibullah Lafraie
 
Former Afghan minister warns of increased risk for New Zealand soldiers in Bamiyan.
 
“It seems the Taliban have found a way to penetrate into Bamiyan, so that there’s more danger and more risk to the lives of Kiwi soldiers.”
 
New Zealand’s PRT has helped local infrastructure, but “because Bamiyan, being an isolated place and the level of activity going on there, the impact on the overall situation is almost negligible.”
 
Even before today’s reported threats by Taliban leaders, Lafraie said: “They see all the foreign troops as invaders and take action wherever and whenever they can.”
 
Fears “civil war” after the NATO withdrawals, only worse than the 1990s as regional and global powers use Afghanistan as a pawn.
 
“…so that means another very, very dark and tragic page in Afghan history.”
 
Taliban are ready for peace talks; some settlement is essential.
 
Q+A, 9-10am Sundays on TV ONE and one hour later on TV ONE plus 1.
 
Thanks to the support from NZ ON Air.
 
Q+A is on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/NZQandA#!/NZQandA and on Twitter, http://twitter.com/#!/NZQandA
 
Q + A – August 26, 2012
 
DR NAJIBULLAH LAFRAIE
 
Five New Zealand soldiers have died in Bamiyan this month – a province once regarded as peaceful. Dr Najibullah Lafraie, now a lecturer at Otago University, was a minister in the Afghan government before the Taliban took over in 1996. He believes New Zealand troops are not being directly targeted, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.
 
“It seems the Taliban have found a way to penetrate into Bamiyan, so that there’s more danger and more risk to the lives of Kiwi Soldiers. I don’t think that it’s specifically about Bamiyan or specifically against New Zealand troops. They see all the foreign troops as invaders and take action wherever and whenever they can.”
 
Dr Lafraie says people have misconceptions about the Taliban and claims they will be watching the reaction of our Government following the deaths of Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, Private Richard Harris and Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone.
 
“We think that the Taliban are just a bunch of traditional, uneducated youth and they don’t know anything about what’s going on in the world, but that is not the case. The sophistication is there and they are following the news, and certainly they take note of what’s going on and what the politicians say.”
 
New Zealand’s Provincial Reconstruction Team has been in Bamiyan since 2003. Dr Lafraie says while the work they’ve done in the region has helped locals, they won’t come home with a legacy of helping Afghanistan.
 
“Unfortunately, that is the case, because Bamiyan, being an isolated place and the level of activity going on there, the impact on the overall situation is almost negligible.”
 
So what happens after the Kiwi and other NATO troops leave? Dr Lafraie says peace talks are essential.
 
“I believe Taliban are ready for some kind of peace, peaceful settlement of the  problem, and they know that they cannot bring the country under control through war, so this is why I think they would opt for peace if there is sincere intention for the withdrawal of all troops.”
 
Without such negotiations, Afghanistan’s future is bleak.
 
“Then what happens is we have a repeat of 1990s with much worse consequences. Now it’s not only the neighbours, but other players involved, so Afghanistan would become a battleground for regional and world forces. Of course, they’d use Afghan allies and again it’d be called civil war, but actually it would be a battle game among the world powers, so that means another very very dark and tragic page in Afghan history.”
 
ENDS

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