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Ear to the Ground

Karzai Rebuffed U.S., Kept Ex-Warlord in Cabinet

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Posted on Jan 1, 2011
hamid karzai
AP / Farzana Wahidy

Karzai has embraced several former warlords in his efforts to unify the country.

While many see Afghan President Hamiz Karzai as a puppet for U.S. interests, secret diplomatic records show a resilient Karzai refusing to remove a former warlord from the energy and water ministry last year in the face of intense U.S. pressure.

The U.S. had considered the warlord corrupt and threatened to end aid to the country unless he was sacked. —JCL

Associated Press:

U.S. officials pressured Afghan President Hamid Karzai to remove a former warlord from atop the energy and water ministry a year ago because they considered him corrupt and ineffective, and threatened to end aid unless he went.

Karzai rebuffed the request, according to secret diplomatic records, and the minister—privately termed “the worst” by U.S. officials—kept his perch at an agency that controls $2 billion in U.S. and allied projects.

The State Department correspondence, written as Karzai was assembling a Cabinet shortly after his 2009 re-election, reveals just how little influence U.S. officials have over the Afghan leader on pressing issues such as corruption.

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By Michael Dougherty, January 2, 2011 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is perversely funny for the US government to criticize other governments for having corrupt insiders close to their leader, when you consider the people close to President Obama and their roles in the financial meltdown (Summers and Geithner being the most visible).

The old rule still applies—if you are going to be a thief, be a really big one.  Current case in point is the two women in Mississippi serving life sentences for stealing $11, while the leaders at Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citigroup, etc, etc, not only walk free after looting billions of dollars from the economy, they are still getting bonuses!  Is America great, or what?

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Gulam's avatar

By Gulam, January 2, 2011 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

Ishmael Khan has long had a reputation among old Afghan hands as being
among the least corrupted of the “War Lords,” which is rather loose and
pejorative term that the West uses for regional commanders. He lived in a
small, private house in Herat when Dustam, for example, was living in a
personal palace like something out of Disneyland. Ishmael Khan was also,
among the leading regional leaders, among the most religious, and he
displayed considerable resourcefulness and skill as a wartime leader. Herat
recovered rapidly for a time under Ishamel Khan, and by 2003 it was by far the
most lively of Afghan cities.

There is a long-standing tension between the Amir of Herat and the Afghan
King in Kabul, and Herat is a logical place were a challenge to power develops.
Herat is a much more sophisticated place culturally than Kandahar or Kabul; it
was once the capital of an empire that stretched from the Iraq to China. It is a
sign of strength that Karzai has been able to stand with one of Afghanistan’s
stronger and cleaner players and has not had to throw him to the Americans.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, January 2, 2011 at 12:35 am Link to this comment

Karzai is trying to save his ass for when the Americans leave and the sooner the better.

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By Marshall, January 1, 2011 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

So can we lay the “Aghanistan is puppet of US” conspiracy theory to rest now
please?  We need to free up resources to move on to debunking the next one.

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By gerard, January 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

“...according to two State Department reports written at the time by U.S. Embassy officials in Kabul. They were disclosed last month by WikiLeaks.

“A Dec. 19, 2009, memorandum distributed internally under Eikenberry’s name described Khan as “the worst of Karzai’s choices for Cabinet members…” 
  Not clear whether this item was “leaked” before the recent WikiLeaks leaks.  I seem to remember it from way back.  But watch for the vagueness and confusions bound to occur now that WikiLeaks is vulnerable to accusations of all kinds.  Things they didn’t leak that accusers accuse them of leaking?  Things they did leak that served as needed public information?  Things that had positive results?  Things that tended to help put an end to the Afghanistan war?
  If Assange and Manning are prosecuted, all kinds of wild allegations will surely appear in order to make the case and keep the public hysteria high in order to get convictions.

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By samosamo, January 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

****************


Ain’t much more hypocritical american BS than
this. Wonder how many of america’s best would
make karzai and the ‘still employed warlord’
look like alter boys? But I guess it goes with the
imperialist thinking.

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