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Entries in Hamid Karzai (45)


Afghanistan: Furour over Petraeus' Alleged Remark "They Burn Their Own Children"

To the shock of President Hamid Karzai's aides, Gen. David H. Petraeus suggested Sunday at the presidential palace that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting.

The exact language Petraeus used in the closed-door session is not known, and neither is the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were deemed deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.

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Afghanistan Feature: An Election (and More) Gone Wrong (Gall/Khapalwak)

The inauguration of a new Parliament in just weeks threatens to worsen ethnic tensions and instability and to drive an important part of President Hamid Karzai’s political base into the arms of the insurgency, Afghans and foreign officials warn.

Despite numerous obstacles, NATO and American officials had pushed strongly for parliamentary elections in September, gambling that a successful vote would show progress in the war and new growth in Afghanistan’s democracy.

Instead insecurity, disaffection and fraud, particularly in the south, left the country’s largest and most important ethnic group, the Pashtuns, with sharply reduced representation. The results have been vigorously disputed for three months and have pushed the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis.

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Video & Transcript: Obama, Clinton, and Gates on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy Review

The video of President Obama's presentation on Friday of the Afghanistan and Pakistan Annual Review. The transcript that follows includes not only Obama's address but also the briefing by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:

We have already posted the unclassified summary of the Review, along with our snap reaction, "Big Damn Deal". A special analysis will be posted on Saturday:

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  When I announced our new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan last December, I directed my national security team to regularly assess our efforts and to review our progress after one year.

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Afghanistan: Holbrooke Death Overtakes Analysis of "No Decisive Victory"

The headline news in Washington is the death of Richard Holbrooke, the senior US diplomat involved in attempted resolution of conflicts from Bosnia to Afghanistan. The coverage is exemplified by this final sentence from a long profile in The Washington Post:

As Mr. Holbrooke was sedated for surgery, family members said, his final words were to his Pakistani surgeon: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan."

The tributes are likely to swamp any coverage of the current situation. On Sunday, Rajiv Chandrasekaran --- who wrote the Post eulogy for Holbrooke --- had published a long article on the tensions between US officials and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

And last night Deb Reichmann of the Associated Press wrote an incisive and significant-analysis which is likely to disappear today:

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Afghanistan: Hamid Karzai --- America's "Question Mark" (Chandrasekaran)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had heard enough.

For more than an hour, Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry and other top Western officials in Kabul urged Karzai to delay implementing a ban on private security firms. Reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars would have to be shuttered, they maintained, if foreign guards were evicted.

Sitting at the head of a glass-topped, U-shaped table in his conference room, Karzai refused to budge, according to two people with direct knowledge of the late October meeting. He insisted that Afghan police and soldiers could protect the reconstruction workers, and he dismissed pleas for a delay.

As he spoke, he grew agitated, then enraged. He told them that he now has three "main enemies" --- the Taliban, the United States and the international community.

"If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban," he fumed.

After a few more parting shots, he got up and walked out of the wood-paneled room.

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Wikileaks Afghanistan: "Bad Guys on Our Side"; Dealing with Iran Involvement

Karzai retorted, “My question for you is, do you want a bad guy on your side or working for the Taliban? Where Afghans are in charge, drugs are less but where the international community is in charge, drugs are up.”...

[Foreign Minister] Spanta also shared that Karzai had raised the issue of Iran’s involvement in smuggling weapons into Afghanistan with Iranian President Ahmedinejad, who Spanta said, “denied it, of course, but the point was made.”

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Wikileaks: Today's Guide to EA's Coverage


Aluf Benn says "The Fiasco Doesn't Embarrass Israel One Bit".

Features and Documents

1. US officials have "No Confidence in Pakistani Leader Zardari, No Alternative to Afghan Leader Karzai".

2. A year before the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, the US Embassy in Tbilisi documents "The Russian Campaign Against Georgia".

3. In 2009, the US Embassy in Rome intervenes in Italian politics: "Pushing Back Against Silvio Berlusconi, 'The Mouthpiece of Vladimir Putin'."


Wikileaks Pakistan-Afghanistan Document: No Confidence in Zardari; No Alternative To Karzai

[Ministry of Defence official John] Day stated that HMG continues to feel “deep frustration” with Karzai, wryly adding that “I remind people that we -- the international community -- selected him.” For all Karzai’s faults, Day continued, the real question concerning Karzai’s future is whether there is a “constitutional alternative.” One dire possible scenario would be “failed elections (in 2009) with Karzai having reduced legitimacy and with violence attributed to the campaign.”

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Afghanistan Analysis: Karzai Making a Break? (Rashid)

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. When I spoke with him earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai told me that the US has been unable to bring peace to Afghanistan or to secure cooperation from Pakistan, which continues to give sanctuary to the Taliban. He rejects the barrage of US criticism at his government on issues like corruption and poor administration and says the original sin of all these faults lies with the Americans.

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Afghanistan: The Complications of the Elections Result (Cole)

Juan Cole writes:

Most of the results of the disputed parliamentary election in Afghanistan were announced on Wednesday. Altogether 24 candidates were disqualified from parliament because the Independent Electoral Commission found them guilty of fraud. Some 1.3 million of the 5.6 million votes were tossed out as invalid.

The southern Pashtun ethnic group appears to have lost its majority in parliament, a development that could presage further dissatisfaction with the government in the Pashtun south and east of the country, which is already the site of a lively set of insurgencies.

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