Irish official made 'persona non grata' by Kabul - why?

Helium Three

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Anyone know the background to the expulsion of an Irish official from Afghanistan described in this BBC report? Is the official a scapegoat for some row higher up the line?

.....
Two high-ranking officials from the European Union and the United Nations - one British, the other Irish - have been ordered to leave Afghanistan. The two men, based in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, had been holding meetings with different tribes and groups, including possibly the Taleban.

The Afghan government has given them 48 hours to leave and the UN has said that it will comply with the request. But officials hope to resolve what they have called a misunderstanding.

"We are currently trying to clarify the situation with the Afghan authorities, and we are hopeful that our staff member and the UN can continue with the essential work that is required to deliver peace, stability and progress to the people of Helmand province," said UN spokesman Aleem Siddique.

Homayun Hamidzada, spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said: "The foreign nationals have been declared persona non grata and their Afghan colleagues have been arrested and are being investigated."

He said they had been "involved in some activities that were not their jobs".

Alastair Leithead, BBC correspondent in Kabul, says the two, one of whom was acting head of the EU mission in Afghanistan, spoke to a lot of different groups across the country. He says their role was to try to find out what was happening "on the ground" with tribal elders, government representatives and non-government representatives.

Officials have stressed these discussions should not be interpreted as support for the Taleban. Our correspondent says people are describing the situation as a storm in a teacup which has been taken much further than expected. Intense diplomacy is continuing to try and resolve the situation, he adds.

Helmand province, where the two men were based, is the heart of Afghanistan's drug-producing region, and the EU and UN have been playing a major role in the eradication programme. Analysts say the poppy industry has been a primary reason for the Taleban's resurgence in the south of the country.
 


Helium Three

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Thanks for that - as a reason it seems odd though given the need to talk to the Taleban at some point in order to stop the fighting in Helmand. I see on the Telegraph site that the second man being expelled is from Northern Ireland, though he is on a British passport.
 

geraghd

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Its Taliban btw.. surely?
 

Helium Three

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'The Taliban (Pashto: طالبان ṭālibān, also anglicized as Taleban)' .... says wikipedia
 

jjacollins

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Is this alleged Irishman in the service of the Irish Government or a tool of a foreign nations government???
 

kim chi

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Helium Three said:
Thanks for that - as a reason it seems odd though given the need to talk to the Taleban at some point in order to stop the fighting in Helmand.
Why don't you have the courtesy to support keeping your big nose out of other countries' business? You've got some cheek, squatting in your post-Christmas stupor, to be telling other countries how they should conduct their affairs.
This Irishman should have his ass kicked from Kandahar to Kinsale.
 

D. Linehan

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kim chi said:
[quote="Helium Three":4am994rv]Thanks for that - as a reason it seems odd though given the need to talk to the Taleban at some point in order to stop the fighting in Helmand.
Why don't you have the courtesy to support keeping your big nose out of other countries' business? You've got some cheek, squatting in your post-Christmas stupor, to be telling other countries how they should conduct their affairs.
This Irishman should have his ass kicked from Kandahar to Kinsale.[/quote:4am994rv]

Before other countries stuck their noses into Afghanistan's business, it was ruled by an Islamist regime so extreme Hezbollah have criticised them.
 

mr_anderson

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Helium Three said:
Thanks for that - as a reason it seems odd though given the need to talk to the Taleban at some point in order to stop the fighting in Helmand. I see on the Telegraph site that the second man being expelled is from Northern Ireland, though he is on a British passport.
Are you alleging another example of cross-border co-operation ?
I think paisley should be told !
 

Helium Three

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I was wondering for a while there if it could ever be Big Ian and Martin on a Christmas nixer.

Mervyn Patterson and Michael Semple don't seem to be cover names for those two though:

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Kabul says both men are highly respected experts on Afghan culture, tribalism and languages, having spent many years living in and travelling to Afghanistan.

BBC adds this -

The row comes as a British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, reports that members of Britain's secret intelligence service, MI6, held meetings during the summer with senior Taleban members in Afghanistan.

If true, this could prove embarrassing for UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who just weeks ago told MPs that there would be no negotiations with members of the Taleban.
 

White Horse

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On the basis of initial reports, this sounds like proper order on the part pf the Afghan government.

How dare these foreigners violate Afgan sovereignty in this way? This is symptomatic of an imperialist mindset.

Now that there is no Empire these people think they can play politics in other sovereign countries.

It may have been well intentioned but it is still out of order.
 

Helium Three

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Looks like the Irish taxpayer has been paying Mr Semple's salary directly while he was employed as a deputy to the special representative of the EU's Afghan wing:

Link

The EU 'special representative's' mandate is described here
 

horseface

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So where does this fit in:

Thursday, March 13, 2003
Taliban ouster natural: Michael Semple
By Waqar Gillani

LAHORE: The Taliban had completely lost support among the people of Afghanistan before they were overthrown by a US-led coalition, according to Michael Semple, the human rights advisor to the British High Commission in Islamabad.

Daily Times, Pakistan

Also this:

JONATHAN HARLEY: Michael Semple began working in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s, after answering an ad in the paper in the UK. Now coordinating relief to the troubled central region of Hazadhijaf for the United Nations, is one of the most experienced and respected workers in the country.

ABC, Australia
 

FutureTaoiseach

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White Horse said:
On the basis of initial reports, this sounds like proper order on the part pf the Afghan government.

How dare these foreigners violate Afgan sovereignty in this way? This is symptomatic of an imperialist mindset.

Now that there is no Empire these people think they can play politics in other sovereign countries.

It may have been well intentioned but it is still out of order.
The world would be a far more peaceful place if people resolved their differences in a non-violent way and through dialogue instead of simply killing people. I think the Afghan govt is being leaned on by Washington and wrongly so.
 

Thac0man

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FutureTaoiseach said:
I see the hand of America in this.
Maybe. But on the other hand, maybe the Afghan government are simply making the point that what goes on in Afghanistan is the Afghan governments business. Unilateral approaches to tackling the Taliban by non-allied parties should surely be subject to government approval anyway? Otherwise 3rd parties risk creating the perception that the Taliban have respect or reocgnition within Afghanistan, bequethed to them by people who are themselves guests.
 

merle haggard

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jjacollins said:
Is this alleged Irishman in the service of the Irish Government or a tool of a foreign nations government???
aah now , you dont really think Irish officials owe their loyalty to the Irish people ?

The British secret service has engaged in peace talks with senior Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, it has been claimed.

MI6 agents held a number of discussions, known as "jirgas", with members of the hardline Islamist group, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

If true, the revelation could embarrass Prime Minister Gordon Brown, coming just weeks after he told MPs: "We will not enter into negotiations with these people."

But it could be interpreted as building on the stated Government aim of splitting the Taliban and backing efforts by President Hamid Karzai to offer a legitimate place in Afghan society to insurgents willing to renounce violence.

The Telegraph claims around half a dozen meetings took place between MI6 agents and Taliban leaders during the summer.

It quotes an unnamed intelligence source as saying: "The Secret Intelligence Service officers were understood to have sought peace directly with the Taliban, with them coming across as some sort of armed militia. The British would also provide 'mentoring' for the Taliban."

It is suggested up to six such meetings took place at houses on the outskirts of Lashkah Gah and in villages in the Upper Gereshk valley, to the north east of Helmand's main town.

Shadow defence secretary Dr Liam Fox said: "If this turns out to be untrue, the Prime Minister will have some explaining to do to the British public."

Responding to the Daily Telegraph's allegations, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We do not comment on intelligence matters."
 

White Horse

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FutureTaoiseach said:
White Horse said:
On the basis of initial reports, this sounds like proper order on the part pf the Afghan government.

How dare these foreigners violate Afgan sovereignty in this way? This is symptomatic of an imperialist mindset.

Now that there is no Empire these people think they can play politics in other sovereign countries.

It may have been well intentioned but it is still out of order.
The world would be a far more peaceful place if people resolved their differences in a non-violent way and through dialogue instead of simply killing people. I think the Afghan govt is being leaned on by Washington and wrongly so.
Perhaps so. In that case the action of Washington would be as invidious as the Irish mandarin.

There have been too many western playboys interferring in the affairs of developing countries.

Let these countries get on with their own affairs. No aid, no interference.
 

merle haggard

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guess what . The British diplomat , Mr Patterson , is from the north of Ireland . So its two Irishmen expelled . As its unlikely the afghan governemnt are prejudiced against Irish nationals questions certainly need to be asked about both mens activities in that country , and as to whether or not Irish officials are acting on behalf of or are members of the British intelligence services .
Of course many of them are , the Dublin Monaghan bombings and subsequent cover up , Baldonnel accord are evidence of that . But thuis needs to be properly determined and clarified . Its not just an issue regarding afghan internal sovereignty but the Irish states as well .
 


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