The White House on Karzai and Afghanistan

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 11 months ago

From NYDailyNews.com.

President Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai praised each other Wednesday and insisted the tenuous relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan has never been stronger, but they didn’t erase significant differences over how to govern the patchwork nation.

“There are days that we are happy. There are days that we are not happy. It’s a mutual relationship towards a common objective,” Karzai said at a joint East Room press conference. “The bottom line is that we are much more strongly related to each other today than we ever were before in this relationship.”

When the two leaders met more than a month ago in Kabul, Obama was frank and insisted Karzai crack down on corruption in his government, which the U.S. believes has hurt military and diplomatic efforts. Karzai publicly squawked about the tone of that meeting.

There are even bigger differences to be resolved. The U.S. is particularly concerned about peace talks Karzai would like to open with Taliban leaders and regional warlords while U.S. troops are in the midst of a campaign in the Helmand Valley region.

Even though the issue remains prickly for both leaders, they used the occasion to try to cast a more positive image of friendship and solidarity. Though not a full-fledged state visit, Obama even gave Karzai the red carpet treatment.

Of their differences, Obama said, “A lot of them were simply overstated,” adding, “I am very comfortable with the strong efforts that President Karzai has made thus far and I think we both agree that we’re going to have to make more efforts in the future.”

TCJ three days prior concerning Ahmed Wali Karzai, Hamid Karzai’s criminal brother who runs Kandahar like a mobster.

“The plan is to incorporate him, to shape him. Unless you eliminate him, you have to [do this],” said a senior coalition official involved in planning what is viewed as this summer’s make-or-break military operation in Kandahar. “You can’t ignore him,” he added. “He’s the proverbial 800lb gorilla and he’s in the middle of a lot of rooms. He’s the mafia don, the family fixer, the troubleshooter.”

“ISAF faces a number of political challenges as well. A majority of Afghan watchers point to Ahmed Wali Karzai as one of the biggest barriers to smooth operations in the city—he demands a cut of most commerce that takes place in the area, and the DEA alleges he has ties to the illegal narcotics industry. However, because he is the President’s brother, there is no chance of removing him from power. Similarly, Kandahar is, in effect, run by a group of families organized into mafia-style crime rings. They skim profits off almost all reconstruction projects in the city, and have developed a lucrative trade ripping off ISAF initiatives. They sometimes violently clash with each other.”

From the Guardian.

Barack Obama warned today that coalition forces in Afghanistan faced months of hard fighting, but said they had started to “reverse the momentum of the insurgency” by taking the fight to the Taliban.

From the Air Force Times.

The Taliban no longer run and hide when they see a fighter jet overhead, brazenness that airmen attribute to the nearly year-old directive to limit close-air support.

Joint terminal attack controllers, airmen on the ground who call in airstrikes, and fighter pilots report that insurgents are encouraging each other to continue firing because they know the Air Force’s F-16s and A-10s are dropping far fewer bombs now than this time last year.

Keep fighting; [coalition forces] won’t shoot” is the order that enemy leaders are giving — in Pashtun and Dari, words that the JTACs have heard over their radios.

One is almost persuaded to believe that the White House is spewing forth propaganda.

  • Warbucks

    Who would have ever thought it, the regional theater of war effort comes down to cutting another deal with the underworld mobsters; sounds like Hollywood movie historians making another film on the recapture of WWII Nazi loot, or the fabled finding of Marcos’ Sunken Treasure somewhere in the midst of Subic Bay. High crime is merely situational ethics and perspective.

    “Where’s Wali?” perhaps will be a rallying cry for victory. A Warbucks subsidiary has negotiated franchise rights for your purchase of “Where’s Wali?” field green combat t-shirts. Our bargain basement includes rejects off the assembly line of re-died Where’s Waldo? T-shirts you can pick up for a song.

    Wali’s brother is being featured this afternoon at United States Institute of Peace, in an unusual event in that it is perhaps one of the few events attended by a cabinet member:

    Next on USIP.org: A Conversation with Afghan President H.E. Hamid Karzai and The Honorable Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
    The U.S. Institute of Peace invites you to a live web event of an on-the-record discussion with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
    This webcast will begin on May 13, 2010 at 2:30pm EDT.
    http://www.usip.org/newsroom/webcasts

    Every once in a while these USIP events are fun to watch. Sadly I doubt you will be able to dialogue on the side bar running open email script of questions from the audience as your questions are likely to be too probing, forthright, and revealing if not rhetorical, indicating a different reality from the one being cobbled together for victory.

    For the first 100 callers, 10-kilo cans of hermetically sealed world famous “Where’s Wali?” mixed and blended ………… pipe tobacco’s……. from Afghanistan are available.

    Or as they say in A-stan on the tobacco cans:

    چطورمی توانستیدمن راباوربنماییدموقعیکه من بگویم من شمارادوست بدارم موقعیکه شما

    یک دروغگوتمام زندگیم بوده است ؟ I بدانید

  • Warbucks

    چطورمی توانستیدمن راباوربنماییدموقعیکه من بگویم من شمارادوست بدارم موقعیکه شما

    یک دروغگوتمام زندگیم بوده است ؟ I بدانید ….. translates over to approximately:

    How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfR82mlEAzA


You are currently reading "The White House on Karzai and Afghanistan", entry #4983 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Obama Administration,Rules of Engagement and was published May 12th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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