Posts Tagged ‘Hamid Karzai’

The chapter title is homage to Richard Holbrooke whose book by that title recounted his negotiations to end hostilities in the Balkans, also his objective in his oversight of the Af-Pak region.  Explaining that insurgencies rarely end with the surrender of a side but rather as a result of persistent diplomacy, Hillary states that from the start she insisted that the needs and concerns of Afghan women be taken into account, an issue she raised at the March 2009 Conference on Afghanistan.

Playing Catch-up With Mme. Secretary: The Hague Afghanistan Conference


A major objective in all diplomatic dealings on Afghanistan was the goal of peeling off the less ideological among the Taliban and winning them over to the mainstream government, a controversial policy that Hillary defends staunchly in this chapter.  Referring to statements she made at the London Conference on Afghanistan in January 2010,  she cites the conditions:  abandoning violence, breaking with Al Qaeda, and supporting the constitution. The process is referred to alternately as reconciliation and reintegration.  The links below provide Hillary’s words on this issue as well as on issues concerning the welfare of women and girls in Afghanistan.

Video & Text: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Yemen with UK FM Miliband & Yemeni FM Al-Qirbi

Hillary Clinton at Afghanistan – The London Conference 01-28-10

Hillary Clinton’s Remarks at Afghanistan: The London Conference 01-28-10 Video & Text

Hillary Clinton, Busy in London

Reconciliation of non-ideological insurgents remained a strong item on the agenda when she and Robert Gates attended the NATO Summit in Brussels in October 2010.

Secretaries Clinton and Gates in Brussels

Richard Holbrooke reasoned that if Afghanistan and Pakistan could forge relations beneficial to both,  cooperation in battling terrorist activities could be strengthened.  Thus came about a trade agreement signed by both countries in Islamabad in July 2010 which was the inception of “The New Silk Road.”

Hillary Clinton: More Pics from Pakistan

Hillary refers to a roundtable with TV journalists during this trip wherein she explained the necessity for Afghan-Pakistani relations to be strengthened as well as the reconciliation agenda.  It was testy, yet she remained resiliently cheerful and optimistic in her signature way (another reason we love her).

Hillary Clinton’s Roundtable in Pakistan with TV Journalists

Video: Hillary Clinton With Six Pakistani Interviewers At One Time – Holds Her Own! AWESOME!

She mentions that this policy was reinforced at the Lisbon NATO Conference.  She did not speak there.  She attended with President Obama who did the speaking that time around (but there are some amusing photos in the link below).

Hillary Clinton at NATO Lisbon: Saturday Wrap and Slideshow


Early the next month, with the holiday season gearing up,  Richard Holbrooke became ill during a meeting with her at the State Department.  She recounts the painful hours from the time he went to the infirmary in the building through his death at George Washington University Hospital.  It was a devastating blow to her, to the department, to his colleagues, and to people the world over with whom Holbrooke had worked.

Update on Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

Update on Ambassador Richard Holbrooke

Ambassador Holbrooke Has Passed Away

December 13, 2010 by still4hill

The day he died, there was a holiday party at the State Department.  Holbrooke’s widow, Kati Marton, attended.  Here are Hillary’s remarks.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at Holiday Reception for the Chiefs of Diplomatic Missions to the United States

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on the Passing of Richard Holbrooke

Although she did not, in the book,  include specific references to these next two addresses,  I am including them here as part of the record of the Afghanistan and Af-Pak policy status at that time.

Video – Secretary Clinton’s Remarks: Review of the War in Afghanistan

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Briefing on Afghanistan and Pakistan

The memorial for Richard Holbrooke was held in mid-January 2011.  At the memorial, his friends remembered his great humor and huge personality.

Slideshow: Secretary Clinton at the Holbrooke Inaugural Lecture and the Memorial Service

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Holbrooke Memorial

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Launch of the Asia Society’s Series of Richard C. Holbrooke Memorial Addresses

A negotiating office where the U.S. could talk with Taliban representatives opened and quickly closed in Yemen where the Taliban made it appear too official for Karzai’s liking. By the December 2011 conference  in Bonn,  things had turned.  Pakistan did not show up, and Karzai began to distrust U.S.-Taliban negotiations.  The Taliban, in turn,  pulled out distrusting Karzai.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks in Bonn on Afghanistan

Her last official meeting with Karzai as secretary of state was in January 2013 shortly after she returned to D.C.  following  her illness and concussion.  (Not to be nitpicky, but she worked from home and even from the hospital while she was ill, so I did not want to say she returned “to work,”  She had been working all along.)   She hosted Karzai at a private dinner in the James Monroe Room and states that she appealed to his sense of his own legacy at this meeting.

Hillary Clinton with Hamid Karzai

She ends the chapter with a quote from Holbrooke: “The only way to start ending a war is to begin talking.”



Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>





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When I posted this in November 2009 at the tail end of Hillary’s busy tour of Asia that month,  everyone was surprised.  Security was so high that the visit was not announced until she was safely on the ground.

Breaking News…Hillary Wheels Down in Afghanistan

There was this 4-column spread photo on the front page of the New York Times.


In chapter 7 Hillary refers to a day at the White House that month when there were three important meetings the last of which, in the Situation Room,  yielded our military roadmap out of Afghanistan.

Sometimes during her State Department tenure, the public schedule would state that she had “No Public Appointments.”  Often I would clarify here that those words did not indicate that she was not working.  They meant that her work that day was not for publication.  She places these meetings three days before Thanksgiving, 2009. That puts it here, and we knew something big was up.

The Busy Monday Continues

We learn some of what went into her thinking as these deliberations proceeded.  Hillary is a Methodist, and very methodical, but she goes through something of a Catholic examination of conscience in this chapter seeking to discover what has worked and what lessons might be found in past miscalculations.

She revisits her past trips to Afghanistan as well as her Iraq War vote and the rationale behind that.  She flat out calls that vote a mistake.  I still think she provided very rigid parameters for the president in her remarks before casting that vote, but this is her call, not mine.  Here are those remarks,  and I believe she explained her position very clearly and did not provide the president an open playing field.

Time to Revisit Hillary Clinton’s Iraq War Vote

We also hear who the players in the Situation Room were and their positions and roles in the deliberations.  No one will be surprised that a great deal of the action centers around Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus.  Once a surge had been agreed upon it was, according to her account, their calculation of the ‘Goldilocks’ number of troops necessary on which the effectiveness of the surge would rest.

As in real life, Richard Holbrooke looms large in this chapter and has enormous impact on policy in the Af-Pak region he accepted to oversee.  It is not only Hillary in Hard Choices who speaks of hostility from the White House staff toward Holbrooke.  Vali Nasr, a member of Holbrooke’s team, and now Dean of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies recounts White House offensives against Holbrooke in his 2013 book, The Dispensable Nation.  Hillary’s account is briefer with less detail, but it does lead to attempts by his adversaries to have Holbrooke fired.  Hillary defends him, and President Obama accepts the defense.


Also looming large in this chapter, of course, is Hamid Karzai with whom Hillary met on many occasions.   One of these that she singles out as particularly productive occurred during his May 2010 visit to the U.S.

At Dumbarton Oaks: Hillary Clinton & Hamid Karzai

All of this is background to her visit to Afghanistan in November 2009 where she smashed on the tarmac, with all the style, grace, and panache of Helen Mirren smashing on a red carpet,  and attended Karzai’s inauguration.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The truth is that in the book she does not even talk about most of the following events..  She was there for the inauguration.  There simply was no way that I could look back on that visit without including these events and photos.

Photos of the Day: Secretary Clinton in Afghanistan

Secretary Clinton’s Press Conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul

Secretary Clinton’s Address to U.S. and International Troops in Afghanistan

Photo Gallery: Hillary with Our Troops in Afghanistan

This is the real Hillary!

Hillary at the Embassy and Foreign Ministry in Kabul

 The upshot of all of this was, of course, the Afghanistan surge.  She closes the chapter with a summary of Afghanistan’s progress since 2010 on crucial issues, a hat tip to much-maligned General Eric Shinseki for his (rejected) 2003 recommendations to the Bush administration, and her account of the trip from the White House to West Point where President Obama unrolled the blueprint for departure from Afghanistan before an auditorium packed with cadets who soon would inherit the fight.

Afghanistan Speech: Photos and Text

Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>




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There were no public remarks scheduled to be delivered from the meetings with President Karzai this evening, but there are pictures and this raw video from AP.  Victoria Nuland delivered a summary at today’s press briefing.

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MS. NULAND: Well, this late afternoon, this evening, as you know, the Secretary will host President Karzai here in the Department. She’ll have her own meeting with him, and then she’s going to host a working dinner. Defense Secretary Panetta is going to be here, National Security Advisor Donilon, and she’s obviously very much looking forward to seeing President Karzai. And then as you know, he’ll be at the White House tomorrow, as Ben Rhodes outlined.

Here at the State Department, we think a full range of issues are going to be discussed. Obviously, aspects of the security transition, the elections in 2014 and preparing for them, the economic transition, regional integration, support for the Afghan reconciliation efforts. Those will all be central themes in the discussions this evening.

With regard to where we are precisely on reconciliation, I think we are looking forward to hearing from President Karzai how he sees things. As you know, we have had some modest steps forward in recent months, including a commitment by Pakistan to support Afghan-Afghan reconciliation, some of the work we’ve been doing in the Core Group U.S.-Afghanistan-Pakistan to pave the way and ease the conditions for those Taliban who might need safe passage to go have conversations. As we’ve discussed here, we also had some track two discussions, Afghans and Taliban in Paris about a month and a half ago that could potentially be built on.

So I think first and foremost, we want to hear from President Karzai what he sees as the next steps and take it from there. So we’ll probably have – I’m expecting you’ll hear more about that aspect after the discussions here, but as importantly, the discussions tomorrow at the White House with the President. And I think you know the two presidents will have a press conference tomorrow afternoon.

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Remarks With Afghan President Hamid Karzai


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Presidential Palace
Kabul, Afghanistan
July 7, 2012

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, not pictured, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, July 7, 2012. Clinton announced that President Barack Obama had designated Afghanistan as a “major non-NATO ally” shortly after arriving in the country for talks with Karzai. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

SECRETARY CLINTON: (In progress) – much, Mr. President. It’s wonderful being back in Afghanistan and to hear the birds, who are singing about the beautiful day here in Kabul. And I thank you so much for hosting me today and for your leadership and your vision for the future of your country and your people. It is certainly worth thinking for a moment about all of the positive changes that have been made and what we are doing to set the foundation for the future.

The security situation is more stable. The Afghan National Security Forces are improving their capacity to protect the Afghan people. They are in the process of taking the lead in more than 75 percent of the population’s living areas in order to provide security. And at the NATO Summit in Chicago, the international community made pledges to assist the continuing growth and development of the security forces.

But meanwhile, the Government of Afghanistan has signed partnership agreements with many countries, and we are very pleased that the United States is among those. We have worked together to set forth a long-term political, diplomatic, and security partnership, and it entered into force just a few days ago.

And I am pleased to announce today that President Obama has officially designated Afghanistan as a major non-NATO ally of the United States. We see this as a powerful symbol of our commitment to Afghanistan’s future. And later this year, I’m looking forward to convening, along with Foreign Minister Rassoul, the new U.S.-Afghanistan bilateral commission to intensify our cooperation.

Our Strategic Partnership Agreement is not aimed at any other country. Our goal is to work with the region and the international community to strengthen Afghanistan’s institutions so that the transition is successful and the Afghan people themselves can take responsibility. And the future of Afghanistan will be safer and more secure so that little boys and little girls can grow up in peace and stability and enjoy a better opportunity. And we will also make sure together that it is no longer a safe haven for al-Qaida or any other international terrorists who threaten Afghanistan, the region, the United States, in fact, the world.

When I think about the progress that’s been made, the new schools that have been built, the improvements in healthcare, the legal protections for Afghan citizens, I think there is much for the Afghan people to be very pleased about because it is your efforts that have brought about these changes. And we want to continue to invest in doing what you believe you need. That’s why it’ll be important to go to Tokyo together to discuss the next stages for investment in what’s being called the transformation decade. We will continue, of course, to protect Afghanistan from any efforts by insurgents and outsiders to destabilize Afghanistan. And we were struck by the recent call from Pakistan’s parliament that Pakistani territory shall not be used for any kind of attacks on other countries. And all foreign fighters, if found, shall be expelled from Pakistani soil. So we want to deepen our security cooperation with Pakistan.

And we also remain committed to Afghan reconciliation. I have supported President Karzai in his effort to have an Afghan-owned, Afghan-led reconciliation process. We see positive signs. To quote High Peace Council head Dr. Rabbani, “a positive shift.” And I’m pleased that in Tokyo, we will have a core meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States at the ministerial level.

So there is much to do to continue working and building together. Obviously, we know Afghanistan has an agenda ahead of itself to make key economic reforms, to fight corruption, to strengthen the rule of law, to attract more trade and investment. And I want to commend President Karzai for his strong public pledges to stamp out corruption and build institutions that will be critical for Afghanistan’s future. And Mr. President, you will always have our support in your efforts. So we’re very excited about what is possible, and we are certainly aware of all of the difficulties that lie ahead. But we want to see Afghanistan be the center of a region of greater communication between countries and people, more trade and investment, a kind of New Silk Road that will bring more economic opportunity not only to Afghanistan, but to the entire region.

So my message today is very simple: The transition is on track, Afghanistan is standing up for itself, of course it will need support, and we are pledged to continue our support and to work with you to get more international support, and I’m quite excited about what lies ahead in Tokyo. But please know that the United States will be your friend and your partner. We are not even imagining abandoning Afghanistan; quite the opposite. We are building a partnership with Afghanistan that will endure far into the future.

Thank you so much, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT KARZAI: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Welcome. Should we take (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, sure. All right. I think that’s good.



QUESTION: Secretary Clinton, unfortunately Afghanistan, by many independent metrics, remains one of the more – one of the countries most afflicted by corruption in the world. What assurances do you have that the new aid that will be pledged in Tokyo will not simply be eaten away by fraud or mismanagement? And what, in practical terms – can you explain to us in simple, practical terms what Afghanistan being designated to us as a major non-NATO ally means?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well first, we know that corruption is a major challenge in many countries around the world, and it’s something that governments and people have to continue to fight because it undermines progress. And we’re working hard with our Afghan partners to address this problem here in Afghanistan, knowing that it’s much broader than Afghanistan by promoting greater transparency, the rule of law, good governance, working hard to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. We’re working with the Afghanistan ministries, governors, local leaders who are committed to delivering services to their people, improving their lives. We take seriously any allegations of corruption that involve U.S. funds. And we are working with the United Nations to support the steps that they have said they would take to address the concerns raised by donors about allegations of mismanagement of the Law and Order Trust Fund.

And in the meeting in Tokyo, we’re going to discuss the kind of mutual accountability that I think the President addressed in his speech just a short while ago. President Karzai has expressed Afghanistan’s intention to take further steps to be effective in the fight against corruption, to further reform government institutions, increase efficiency, transportation, accountability, and we fully support these efforts, which is why we included as part of our Strategic Partnership Agreement cooperation on anticorruption initiatives. So we’re well aware of it, but this is an issue that the government and the people of Afghanistan want action on, and we want to help them be successful. And we intend to be working with them as they move on reforms as well.

Regarding the major non-NATO ally, there are a number of benefits that accrue to countries that have this designation. They’re able to have access to excess defense supplies, for example. They can be part of certain kinds of training and capacity building. I will leave it to our military colleagues to explain in greater length to anyone who’s interested. But this is the kind of relationship that we think will be especially beneficial as we do the transition and as we plan for the post-2014 presence, because it will open the door to Afghanistan’s military to have a greater capacity and a broader kind of relationship with the United States, and particularly the United States military.

QUESTION: (In Arabic.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: We are joining with the international community under the leadership of the Government of Japan to make a pledge that altogether will meet the needs that Afghanistan has laid out, and that the World Bank has also analyzed. I don’t want to jump the gun on the Tokyo conference because it’s really up to the Japanese who have put all the work into this conference to make any formal announcements, but I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing, because of course, the United States will be making a substantial commitment in line with what we have been providing in the past. We want to continue at that – at or near that level. And then other countries are coming in at the same or near levels, and some countries are coming in with new pledges. But I think we have to wait till we get to Tokyo because I think it’s only appropriate that Japan gets to make the announcements.

PRESIDENT KARZAI: Can we take one more question from (inaudible)?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think we’re —

PRESIDENT KARZAI: About to leave? I guess we have to leave.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, we have to go to Tokyo. (Laughter.)

PRESIDENT KARZAI: Thank you, especially, for —

SECRETARY CLINTON: I wish we didn’t have to leave, Mr. President.


SECRETARY CLINTON: So magnificent.

PRESIDENT KARZAI: There’s a saying in Farsi, (inaudible) – when a friend is around, we’ll be here again.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

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December is always heavily front-loaded, and 2011 was hardly an exception with Mme. Secretary on an historical visit to Burma where she met extensively with Nobel laureate and opposition leader Dai Aung Sang Suu Kyi.  Cameras popped, literally, for days and Mme. Secretary granted a flurry of media interviews.

Looking scrumptious, she touched down in DC for a meager 36 hours to host her traditional Kennedy Center Honors Gala Dinner, and was off again.  This time for Europe – a Rainbow Tour  beginning in Bonn for an Afghanistan Conference.  After Bonn, it was Vilnius,  Lithuania for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference followed immediately by a visit to Geneva, Switzerland,  There she met with the Syrian National Council, delivered a Human Rights Day speech that electrified as well as an address at the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.  In  Brussels she spoke at the NATO Conference, and then moved on to The Hague where she attended a Conference on Internet Freedom.

She returned to DC to a series of bilaterals and holiday events, participated in a PBS event with Jim Lehrer, signed an MOU with President Jahjaga of Kosovo, participated in the Women in Public Service event co-sponsored by DOS and the Seven Sisters colleges.  In New York she delivered a major address at the International Crisis Group’s “In Pursuit of Peace” Award Dinner.  In DC  she delivered an address on landmines and weaponry,  “To Walk the Earth Safely.”

The earth lost a dictator and a hero when North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il and former Czech president Vaclav Havel died.   Mme. Secretary led the US delegation, including former President Clinton and former Secretary of State Albright to Havel’s funeral in Prague.

As the year drew to a close, the calls for Secretary Clinton to run for POTUS in 2012 escalated into a write-in campaign for primary states, NH first, complete with robocalls.  As of two nights ago, HRC was on Americans Elect.

As my friend Rumana told both President and Secretary Clinton, we are very serious about this and will continue to pursue this effort into the new year.  We hope our encouragement touches Mme. Secretary.

Speeches: Remarks at the Afghanistan Conference, Remarks at Breakfast with Afghan Civil Society RepresentativesAfghan Women’s Event, Afghanistan Conference First Working Session, Belarus Civil Society Roundtable, Civil Society Meet and Greet, OSCE First Plenary Session, Human Rights Day speech,  Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Conference on Internet Freedom, Women in Public Service, ICG Dinner: “In Pursuit of Peace,” To Walk the Earth Safely.

Travel: Burma, Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Belgium,  the Netherlands, the Czech Republic.

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Our best wishes, Mme. Secretary, for a Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Successful 2012.  We implore you.  Run, Hillary, run!

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Mme. Secretary began her day in Bonn at the Afghanistan conference. We see her being greeted by German FM Westerwelle and Afghanistan’s FM Rassoul. She was met by a host of familiar dignitaries including German Chancellor Merkel, Spanish FM Jimenez, Ban Ki-Moon, and, of course, Hamid Karzai. In the course of the day she held bilaterals with Merkel and Karzai and met with women civil society leaders from Afghanistan. Then it was wheels up for Vilnius where she was greeted by Lithuanian FM Azubalis.

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Hillary Clinton reaches Bonn for Afghanistan Conference

Bonn, Mon, 05 Dec 2011 ANI


Bonn, Dec 5 (ANI): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Bonn on Sunday for international talks aimed at charting a course for Afghanistan after NATO combat troops withdraw in 2014, even as her aides played down a boycott by Pakistan.

“I don’t think it (the boycott) will impact the conclusions of the conference in any way,” The Express Tribune quoted a senior State Department official, as saying.


“We’re all anticipating they (the Pakistanis) will continue to play an important role moving forward. I wouldn’t read too much into their non appearance tomorrow (Monday),” the official added.


Clinton will meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan officials at the conference, which is also aimed at ensuring the continuation of international financial and technical support to Kabul after the withdrawal of the US and NATI troops.

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