Time For Afghanistan's Karzai To Go
It doesn't matter whether the U.S. sends to Afghanistan 40,000 troops or 100,000 troops if the situation on the ground is shaky. The Republicans in Congress are all eager to send more troops into Afghanistan; they would like to sucker the president into quicksand and improve their party's election prospects down the line.
[Black Star News Editorial]
In finding a viable path forward in Afghanistan, the first thing that President Obama's Administration needs to do is to quit propping the corrupt, ineffective and possibly illegitimate regime in Kabul.
Just because the United States needs a sitting government in place, in order to legitimize any military efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, doesn't mean any regime will do.
The U.S. is nowhere close to helping rebuild Afghanistan's own effective army because eighth years were wasted when George W. Bush and Dick Cheney focused on Iraq. New U.S. policy must therefore evaluate and reassess not only the military needs
but primarily the political solution.
The prepondeence of the evidence presented in numerous news accounts since Afghanistan's vote leads to only one conclusion--that the election was overwhelmingly fraudulent. The suggested cure is a runoff between President Amid Karzai
and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah. A better solution is a government of national unity with both men having a say in national defense and the military. Perhaps some elements of the Taliban could even be brought in. The U.S. can never recreate Afghanistan into the image of the United States.
Moreover, conducting elections in such an unstable environment, so soon after the recent costly one, risks exposing Afghans to more violence and there's no guarantee that the outcome won't again be compromised by ballot-stuffing.
To his shame, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan was ready to sweep the dirt under the rug and give his blessing to the fraudulent election by quickly anointing Karzai. The recall of his vocal deputy, an American, who decried the election's outcome, stalled this coronation.
Karzai has run the show for many years now; a national unity government would help instill a new approach.
Right now, the Taliban's strategy is to maximize American deaths through guerrilla attacks and melt into the mountains. They are betting on outlasting U.S. resolve and commitment for Afghanistan.
Karzai is also discredited because his brother is allegedly involved in top drug dealing. The United States has backed such dysfunctional regime's in the past, including South Vietnam's Ngo Dinh Diem, whose brothers held high posts in his government and were also involved in spectacular corruption. Diem later was ousted and murdered by his generals.
Moreover, desperate for votes, Karzai also teamed up with a notorious warlord who massacred prisoners captured when the Taliban were routed after the initial U.S. invasion. The United States has satellite photos of the mass graves and much as the State Department would like to wish this inconvenient truth away, it won't wash.
Backing Karzai, ironically gives the Taliban the moral high ground. They can claim that they are fighting against a corrupt, illegitimate regime that's being sustained merely to serve U.S. interests rather than those of Afghan citizens.
Having a durable, legitimate and at least modestly popular regime in Afghanistan should be the Obama Administration's first goal. It doesn't matter whether the U.S. sends to Afghanistan 40,000 troops or 100,000 troops if the situation on the ground is shaky. The troops would not have a clear mandate--they certainly would not be supporting a government that's serving the interests of Afghans. The Republicans in Congress are all eager to send more troops into Afghanistan; they would like to sucker the president into quicksand and improve their party's election prospects down the line.
They would only be sustaining and in fact imposing an unpopular regime. Afghan popular resentment eventually precipitated the rout of the Soviet occupation army. The United States should learn from this history.
Karzai does not embody Afghanistan.
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