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

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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