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Entries in Hamid Karzai (45)


Afghanistan: Taliban & Karzai Government in "High-Level Talks" (DeYoung/Finn/Whitlock)

In The Washington Post, Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn, and Craig Whitlock report that the Taliban and the Afghan Government have begun discussions for an end to conflict.

Not all observers find this dramatic or promising. In response to the question of Times of London reporter Jerome Starkey, "Did we know this already or did I dream it?", an aid worker in Afghanistan responded, "I don't think you were dreaming. It's lather, rinse, repeat."


Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources.

The talks follow inconclusive meetings, hosted by Saudi Arabia, that ended more than a year ago. While emphasizing the preliminary nature of the current discussions, the sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based inPakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.

"They are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks said of the Taliban.

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Afghanistan Special: Bob Woodward, The US Military, and the White House's Crocodile Tears (Lucas)

I'm sorry but this is getting ridiculous. 

The Washington Post, in its continuing push of its reporter Bob Woodward's Obama Wars, publishes the first of three extracts this morning, "Military Thwarted President Seeking Choice in Afghanistan".

At some point someone has to expose the exposure and reveal the costly game that is going on here. Bob Woodward is not going to do it, because to do so would cut off his access and his books. President Obama's advisors are not going to do it because it would reveal weakness beyond the "wise compromise" they wave so furiously in Woodward's account. And the US military certainly are not going to do it because it would pull back the curtain on their triumph over the White House and the person who is supposedly their Commander-in-Chief.

I am against the US military intervention in Afghanistan. But, if it is going to happen, I would at least appreciate that it be done honestly and without these crocodile tears. I would like a President who says forthrightly, "This is what we are doing," rather than one whose advisors, over the following weeks and months, whisper to their favoured correspondent, "We didn't really like this but the military was so mean. What could we do?" 

You want sympathy, boys? Go find Oprah.

And Mr President: come out from behind your whispering staff. Face your military. Command or admit that you no longer command.

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US Policy on Afghanistan: The Obama Administration's PR Offensive, "We Must, We Must Stay the Course" 

For some time, we have been noting the US military's bureaucratic triumph over the President in the escalation of and persistence with the American campaign in Afghanistan, even beyond Barack Obama's nominal withdrawal date of July 2011.

Now the other shoe drops, courtesy of an article by Karen DeYoung in The Washington Post. This time it is the White House putting out the message: despite the growing doubts over the US intervention, despite the rising costs in money and lives, despite the complications of corruption, despite the inconclusive outcome of this week's Parliamentary elections, Washington will --- it must --- carry on.

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Afghanistan Analysis: My Oh My, What to Do About Corruption? (Kaplan)

Writing before yesterday's Parliamentary elections in Afghanistan, Fred Kaplan of Slate ponders, "What Can We Do About Corruption in Afghanistan?"

The analysis is not as notable for insight as it is for the utter resignation in the conclusion:

For now, Karzai seems to think that the United States has a bigger stake in the war's success than he does and, therefore, that he's the one with the leverage in this relationship. The Obama administration's challenge is to convince Karzai that if he doesn't clean up his act, he really will pay a price—we really might leave or, short of that, funnel arms, money, and other resources to provincial chiefs whose elevation would pose a challenge to Karzai's authority. This is easier said than done, and carries its own risks for Afghanistan's stability. But the alternative is to write "a blank check" and "blindly stay the course," as Obama once said he wouldn't do, and that way seems to lie a quagmire or worse.

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Afghanistan LiveBlog: The 2nd Parliamentary Elections

EA correspondent Josh Shahryar with the latest rolling news from the second elections for Afghanistan's parliament. The LiveBlog is also available on Josh's personal site, The Daily Nite Owl:

1845 GMT

The Free and Fair Election Foundation of Afghanistan has expressed concern about "extensive irregularities" and called on the Independent Election Commission to ensure the integrity of the rest of the electoral process. 

Insecurity and violence shaped the voting process in large swaths of the country. FEFA observers reported serious security incidents around at least 389 polling centers. Polling centers were blown up in Kunar, Khost and Kandahar and captured in Laghman, Kunduz and Badghis, shutting down voting in the communities those centers served.

Violence by candidates, their agents and local powerbrokers was reported in several areas and so were a worrying number of instances of government official interfering in the voting process to sway the results in favor of their chosen candidates.

Ballot stuffing was seen to varying extents in most provinces, as were proxy voting and underage voting.

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