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Re Karzai - he's been travelling a very difficult road, I'd say the verdict is not yet out on whether he's an intelligent, farsighted man trying to do his best to keep Afghanistan together in very difficult circumstances or a corrupt, self-seeking "bad guy" aka "problem" - but in any case, who should judge that and on what criteria? And who would be the replacement, decided by whom - let 'em all fight it out till the toughest warlord of the lot prevails? Or let the Imperial Viceroys of the West hand-pick a replacement (Khalidzad)?  Would the result - in either case - be likely to be better/worse?? .. and above all, from "whose" standpoint?

Dunno, but I'm not yet prepared to condemn Karzai out of hand. After all, he wasn't simply a tame western-nutured puppet inserted by force of arms, he'd  got elected by the Loya Jirga and has withstood 3 recent attempts on his life without bloodthirsty retaliation-crackdowns asfaik?. Here's his bio, judge for yourself. Noting in particular that he's Pashtun, educated partly in Afghanistan partly in India and is able to communicate "in their own lingo" and on their own cultural terms with the major regional plays plus western/international ones, speaks Pashto, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, English and French - not all that common amongst Afghani leaders/tribal chieftains, I'd say? And he's somehow managed to maintain good relations with both India and Pakistan, both Iran and the US - quite a juggling act! Through the last few years, I've also noted how frequently and determinedly he's reprimanded the US/NATO about the high civilian deathtolls caused by their reliance on airstrikes.  So when I first read about his ejection of the two UK/EU officials aka UK spooks from Helmand, these were my immediate gut-reactions:

UK spies trying to negotiate a "separate peace" with the Taliban... without informing Karzai's govt.? Tch tch. (...)...as the Afghan war appears essentially unwinnable, the Afghan government only-naturally believes these men were MI6 spooks working for an inclusive peace-deal with the Taliban, only-logically with Karzai's head - or at very least his defenestration - as part of its price.

On that episode and its implications, did you see the very interesting thread on MoonOfAlabama entitled "Imperial Catfighting in Afghanistan"? My perceptions were slightly different from those in Bernhard's nonetheless-admirable opening post so I chipped in with my views towards the end of the thread (posts 19 and 22) under my alternative nik "parvati_ roma". Another good MoA contrib. worth reading on this aspect: "Afghanistan Update - Kill Karzai".
 

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami

by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Sat Feb 23rd, 2008 at 07:52:35 PM EST
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