AFGHAN "PREZ" KARZAI: REAL FRIEND OR FOE
How many goofy hats does $100 billion buy?
when it can't even buy a true friend and ally.
(May 6, Washington, DC) of all the tremendous blunders of the Bush Administration and the dizzying number of crisis’ George W. left on the desk of the new President, one of the most threatening and potentially volatile is the matter of Afghanistan.
President Obama met today with the so called “President “ of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari. The three parties emerged from “candid” talks in the White House and did reasonably well to put on good public faces. In reality this tripod of a relationship sits atop two of three very weakened legs.
The historic relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan has swung between semi-peaceful coexistence to barely concealed hostility. Naturally the United States involvement in Afghanistan as part of the “War on Terror” has strained that relationship in profound ways. Additionally, many of the Taliban and Al Qeuda fighters the United States is battling on Afghan territory have originated from safe havens on Pakistani soil particularly in the mountainous border region between them as well as the broad, rugged Swat Valley.
Each country has taken its turn at laying blame for a host of internal social, political, religious and security problems on the doorstep of the other. In most matters of contention regarding security and honest cooperation with the US, there is more than enough guilt on both their parts to go around.
At the time, as has been the case since October 2001, we have troops engaged in often fierce battle in treacherous terrain in Afghanistan. After the rapid fall of the Taliban in November 2001, the Bush Administration, in all their judgment and wisdom, hand picked Harmid Karzai and installed him as their puppet “President” in troubled Afghanistan.
As a Pashtun from the Southern area of his native country he was immediately distrusted by the majority of tribal leaders as well as the relatively competent Northern Alliance. Before Karzai was installed in his current office in 2002, the CIA had spread over 12 million US dollars in cash among tribal and Northern Alliance commanders. Since Karzai has assumed his bogus office untold billions more American dollars have been handed to him ostensibly as “economic and military aid” and now the US asks, “to what avail?”
Afghanistan is literally, in all measurable ways in worse condition today than it was before our money began to flow. Karzai’s government has never controlled any more of the country other than a small chunk of the capital, Kabul. His entire scope of “power” barely extends within miles of his “Presidential” residence and, if not for US military and private security, he would have been assassinated long ago. But, of course, as our puppet, he was the devil we knew best. Thank you Mr. Bush.
Karzai has amounted to nothing more than a deceitful, devious, greedy, crook in a fez. His token “government” is miserably, blatantly, almost proudly, corrupt and intensely engaged in opium trafficking. According to US military and intelligence sources on the ground, Karzai’s younger brother is the virtual “Opium King” of Afghanistan.
Karzai managed to hold onto his minimal “power” as long as the hands of the inept Bush Administration were able to prop him up, pull his strings and allegedly get his begrudging “cooperation” in return. Now he is just a hostage in his palace, unable and unwilling to venture much beyond the high surrounding walls, the entire scope of his influence, except for photo ops in foreign countries. He comes here dressed like some nomadic refugee in a goofy hat, demands respect and keeps his hand out for ever increasing amounts of US “aid.” His dog and pony show today was his same old routine.
Our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, reportedly had a “very serious 90 minute visit “ with Karzai before meeting with Obama and Zardari. Zardari is facing enormous security challenges at home, has seen the Taliban capture huge chunks of his country and probably has little sympathy for his neighbor with the fez. This is understandable but unfortunate.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have become inextricably linked since we began military activity in Afghanistan and staging for operations in Pakistan. We have attacked alleged Taliban and Al Qeuda leaders with unarmed aircraft known as drones inside Pakistani territory. While such actions have been deemed militarily necessary by our intelligence agencies, they have strained relations all around.
Karzai faces a “national” election this month and somehow, someway, all of his potential opponents have withdrawn. Did Karzai buy them out, pay them off, or otherwise coerce them?
What has he promised them to keep his token office? These are serious questions that the US should have answered before we invest another human life or dollar in his ungovernable, lawless land.
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