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  • Is Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai the slickest politician around?

    by Sunny
    26th October, 2010 at 10:00 am    

    Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, manages to unite the United States and Iran….. in, err, giving him bags of cash.

    President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that he regularly receives bags of cash from the Iranian government in payments amounting to millions of dollars, as evidence mounted of a worsening rift between his government and its American and NATO supporters.

    During an often hostile news conference, Mr. Karzai also accused the United States of financing the “killing” of Afghans by paying private security contractors to guard construction projects and convoys in Afghanistan. He has declined to postpone a December deadline he set for ending the use of private security forces despite urgent pleas from Western organizations, including development organizations, that need protection here.

    To summarise: Nato presence in Afghanistan has become a joke and a massive waste of money. I think it’s probably best President Obama pulls out now, this situation does not look to be improving.

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    Filed in: Current affairs,Middle East

    27 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Is Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai the slickest politician around?

    2. Ayse Veli

      More like the most corrupt RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Is Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai the slickest politician around?

    1. cjcjc — on 26th October, 2010 at 10:13 am  

      “I think it’s probably best President Obama pulls out now, this situation does not look to be improving.”

      And on that note your support for the Afghan war just disappears in a puff of smoke?

    2. Kismet Hardy — on 26th October, 2010 at 11:38 am  

      Without Karzi and Obama working so successfully together, the fields of Aghanistan would today be overrun with poppies and the streets of London flooded with heroin. Thank god for them that the sick trading of opium based drugs are now confined to history, along with the US bombing taliban.

    3. joe90 — on 26th October, 2010 at 11:51 am  

      The US iran feud is mostly a mirage, Iran and the US have co operated in afganistan for long time. Just take a look at iraq ever wondered why the so called insurgency has died down!

      Iran has co operated with US on many issues and even pulled the reigns on sadr and other groups in iraq don’t tell me thats just coincidence.

      Karzai is just another puppet and a face in the region when the US don’t need him any longer he will have a bullet in head as the story goes.

    4. platinum786 — on 26th October, 2010 at 12:52 pm  

      Whats going to happen is that eventually Afghanistan will be left to the dogs again, it’s going to be over run by the likes of Al Queda, the Taliban and all sorts of warlords who aren’t religious extremists, but just as criminal. Great, you’ve managed to make it worse that it was before.

    5. Naadir Jeewa — on 26th October, 2010 at 1:35 pm  

      When did you make your about turn on this, Sunny?

    6. fugstar — on 26th October, 2010 at 1:44 pm  

      Developmentia is dementia, but with foreign financing

      Thats what Mr Karzai is giving Afghanistan, and any muppet/puppet leader who has no actual local kudos/ability.

      oh for some fearless leadership :-(

    7. Kulvinder — on 26th October, 2010 at 2:04 pm  

      I’m not quite sure whats so controversial about what he said, im also generally against the use of PMCs particularly in areas that are unstable, that very article goes on to say

      In many respects, his sharp words reflect a widespread feeling among Afghans, especially in insecure areas, that foreign security firms are running roughshod over them and intruding in culturally unacceptable ways on their daily lives.

      In the apparent choice between increasing troop numbers or PMCs; i back the former.

      As for Iran, i took it for granted that the Iranians had been putting money into Afghanistan (either in aid or ‘donations’) since 2001. Every neighbour of Afghanistan has a vested interest there and id be shocked if they didn’t try to influence the government in some way. That doesn’t mean the Iranians are somehow helping the taliban, far from it they’ve proven to be bitter enemies in the past.

    8. Kulvinder — on 26th October, 2010 at 2:29 pm  

      Whats going to happen is that eventually Afghanistan will be left to the dogs again

      I doubt it; whats more likely to happen is a not a withdrawl per se; rather a ‘transition phase’ where the US military increasingly leaves the main bulk of the Afghan army to do the fighting whilst providing special forces support and air cover (the US still has de facto air sovereignty in Iraq)

      The notion that the US military will simply up-sticks and leave Afghanistan (or Iraq) is slightly fanciful.

    9. Sunny — on 26th October, 2010 at 3:18 pm  

      My support disappeared in a bag of cash. This situation looks hopeless.

    10. douglas clark — on 26th October, 2010 at 3:43 pm  

      Well, Mr Hundal, is it about time you sorted out the identity thiefs, perhaps?

      I would be particularily grateful….

      For that is not you @ 9. Folk like that are twisted and evil. They have nothing to say for themselves and assume a bigger personality instead.

      It is what they do, and they are disgusting….

    11. Kismet Hardy — on 26th October, 2010 at 4:06 pm  

      What exactly did you think would happen when we went into to Iraq and Afghanistan. That they would all be civilised once and for all and spend childhoods in McD and pinball parlours, then grow up to be chartered accountants always slightly misty eyed about days gone by downing cocktails and shagging freely? Cos that was gonna happen wasn’t it. Let’s fuck up fucked up countries and two fucks should be the making of them. Christ on a dyke I’ll never understand the thought process of in-the-name-of-peace warmongers

    12. damon — on 26th October, 2010 at 5:04 pm  

      Is that you douglas @10? Or is it C.U. Jimmy?

      Is it because that General Petraeus has taken over, and brought his bomb and kill anything that looks suspect approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan? The kind of thing that the latest Wiki-leaks just highlighted was going on Iraq for years?

      I said months ago on Pickled Politics, that I (not being any expert) was most impressed by Rory Stewart.

    13. Naadir Jeewa — on 26th October, 2010 at 5:56 pm  

      @9 - Sunny:

      Really? That this was going on was not really unexpected news. It’s not entirely against US interests either as was already noted in the McChrystal review:

      “Iran plays an ambiguous role in Afghanistan, providing developmental assistance and political support to GIRoA while the Iranian Qods Force is reportedly training fighters for certain Taliban groups and providing other forms of military assistance to insurgents. Iran’s current policies and actions do not pose a short-term threat to the mission, but Iran has the capability to threaten the mission in the future. Pakistan may see Iranian economic and political initiatives as threats to their strategic interests, and may continue to address these issues in ways that are counterproductive to the ISAF effort.”

    14. douglas clark — on 26th October, 2010 at 6:12 pm  

      damon @ 12,

      Yup, that’s me, but absent a code or summat you can assume my identity will be hijacked too. For that is what these wee turds find funny.

      It is pretty sad, but there you go…

    15. africana — on 26th October, 2010 at 6:48 pm  


      surely,the posters who write under others’ names have to provide an email address like everyone else who posts.
      i’m no expert but i would think, unless they have your actual email address that it would be fairly easy, from behind the scenes, to determine which comments are genuinely from you (or anyone else)and which ones aren’t.

    16. Cronous — on 26th October, 2010 at 7:13 pm  

      Karzai is largely irrelevant, he is little more than the mayor of Kabul. Tribal leaders of the various provinces are what count.

    17. Sunny — on 26th October, 2010 at 7:37 pm  

      Douglas - where’s the identity theft? on this thread?

    18. BenSix — on 26th October, 2010 at 8:16 pm  

      My support disappeared in a bag of cash…

      You were paid to stop supporting a war? How deliciously counter-intuitive.

    19. Kulvinder — on 27th October, 2010 at 12:38 am  

      What exactly did you think would happen when we went into to Iraq and Afghanistan.

      I was never sure what was going to happen when Iraq was invaded as the rationale for its invasion was…well everyone knows; that said I absolutely think that Britain and the us has a duty to ensure that everything that can be done to help Iraq is done (in the UK’s case investing more foreign aid there)

      As for Afghanistan I always supported the invasion, i think on the whole its turned out as expected and that the lives of the Afghan people have demonstrably (by looking at opinion polls if nothing else)improved for the better in the last ten years.

      I believed in the invasion over ten years ago when the first Afghan asylum seekers spoke of the brutality of the Taliban, particularly to those who weren’t Pashtun, and the ‘popular’ debate was about how the US abandoned Afghanistan after the cold war (juxtaposing further with the opinions in this thread would be too obvious).

      I believed in it after 9/11 when the US, in my opinion, had every right to act against Al-Qaeda and those who provided them sanctuary.

      I believed in it over the last ten years when the news cycles were Iraq dominated and Afghanistan was generally thought to be ‘progressing’ whilst noone paid it much attention.

      And I believe in it now when, in reality, Afghanistan isn’t in danger of imminent collapse and when it is progressing, slowly, day by day into a stable democratic society.

      To reiterate a similar question i asked in this thread. What do you base your (frankly racist) opinions on what the Afghans are capable of or want/don’t want on?

      Or put another way, why precisely would you view Afghanistan as being less capable or more vulnerable to becoming a chaotic failed state than say Pakistan?

      Afghanistan is far from perfect, but according to its own people its far better than it was ten years ago, its progressing in the right direction, and its population hasn’t suddenly turned in favour of the Taliban. Read the tracking polls in the thread i linked to.

      By all means criticise the US, UK, ISAF and NATO for all their failings. I certainly do. Point out where Afghanistan and Iraq need to be improved, but don’t make spurious racist claims about what either society is or isn’t capable of or (not that you did) all but encourage their decent into chaos simply to stick two fingers up at the US and UK.

      Afghanistan is improving, Kabul and Washington had a minor falling out, it won’t be the first or last time thats happened.

    20. Kulvinder — on 27th October, 2010 at 12:42 am  

      Karzai is largely irrelevant, he is little more than the mayor of Kabul. Tribal leaders of the various provinces are what count.

      Whilst this is true to some extent; the same could be said about the entire sub-continent.

    21. Naadir Jeewa — on 27th October, 2010 at 1:00 am  

      @12 - How many times do people need to scream from the rooftops: “Tribal relations” does not describe Afghanistan - it isn’t an Arab country. This is precisely why the Taliban is so successful - they cross anything remotely resembling tribal ties, and have destroyed them whereever they go, substituting religion as a unifying force. Read Christian Bleuer (again)

      Really, this bag of cash doesn’t mean much at all. Here’s Steve Walt. Here’s someone from Eurasia Group.

      Iran shares a lengthy border, has a large opium addiction problem, and is not keen on Sunni extremists in it’s neighbouring country. Afghanistan needs electricity, and Iran can supply it. US and Iranian interests are one and the same here.

    22. damon — on 27th October, 2010 at 2:08 am  

      Naadir Jeewa, was your ”@12” meant to be me?
      I guess it was because I don’t think any posts have been deleted on this thread yet, but I always think its nice to use someone’s name anyway.

      I’ve read that Ghosts of Alexander blog before … maybe it was you who put it up as a link six months ago. It’s very informative. Is anyone on PP really any expert on the country?
      That’s the only reason I have deferred to Rory Stewart.
      The so called ‘Lawrence of Afghanistan’.
      Just because I read his two books.
      His one about walking from Herat to Kabul, and his other one about being the deputy governor of Maysan province in Iraq as the Muqtada al-Sadr insurgency was gaining momentum.

    23. platinum786 — on 27th October, 2010 at 1:51 pm  

      Kulvinder, I’ll bet you we’ll see civil war and a return to Taliban control. If we’re lucky the puktun tribes will come out on top rather than the Taliban. Everyone just upped sticks and left Somalia didn’t they, it’s not like it’s not happened before. Iraq has oil pumping out of it, thats why they are still there.

    24. Kulvinder — on 27th October, 2010 at 7:14 pm  

      Everyone just upped sticks and left Somalia didn’t they

      Because 9/11 hadn’t occured.

    25. Cronous — on 28th October, 2010 at 1:45 am  

      @ Kulvinder

      “Whilst this is true to some extent; the same could be said about the entire sub-continent.”

      A bit of an overreach. Karzai has never had any real influence beyond Kabul. Sure he represents Afghanistan on the international level, but the real power is in the hands of local tribal chiefs. I I cannot really say the same for Singh, he is not just the mayor of New Dehli nor is Zardari/Kayani the mayor of just Islamabad.

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