Karzai: US, UN pushing me towards the Taliban

posted at 9:30 am on April 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Whatever we’re doing in Afghanistan doesn’t appear to be working, at least if the presumed idea is to use the elected Afghan government to isolate and marginalize the Taliban resistance.  When the leader of the former declares that he may switch sides to the latter if relations with the US and UN doesn’t improve, that can’t be a good sign:

President Hamid Karzai lashed out at his Western backers for the second time in three days, accusing the U.S. of interfering in Afghan affairs and saying the Taliban insurgency would become a legitimate resistance movement if the meddling doesn’t stop.

Mr. Karzai, whose government is propped up by billions of dollars in Western aid and nearly 100,000 American troops fighting a deadly war against the Taliban, made the comments during a private meeting with about 60 or 70 Afghan lawmakers Saturday.

At one point, Mr. Karzai suggested that he himself would be compelled to join the other side —that is, the Taliban—if the parliament didn’t back his controversial attempt to take control of the country’s electoral watchdog from the United Nations, according to three people who attended the meeting, including an ally of the president.

Mr. Karzai blamed the lawmakers’ resistance to his move on a foreign conspiracy, they said. The Afghan president’s latest remarks came less than 24 hours after he assured U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he was committed to working with the U.S. That phone call was precipitated by a similar—but less vitriolic–anti-Western diatribe Mr. Karzai delivered earlier last week.

One of the few bright spots of this administration has been its handling of Afghanistan.  Despite the long and public Hamlet-like delay over making a decision to properly support the COIN strategy  Barack Obama had proclaimed since his days as a candidate, the right decisions have mostly been made and followed by Obama.  The White House expansion of drone attacks in Pakistan has finally pressured Islamabad into action in its frontier provinces, which will shortly put both the Taliban and al-Qaeda in a vise.

However, this eruption by Karzai threatens to undermine everything we’ve done.  It’s a bit of an empty threat; the Taliban would be more likely to behead Karzai than embrace him.  Karzai created his own problems with election irregularities that have the UN and US mistrustful of allowing Karzai to control elections. There seems to be good reason to continue oversight on the voting process, if for no other reason than to give Karzai’s government some sort of imprimatur of credibility.

With all of that said, Karzai’s eruption instantly gives the Taliban credibility in Afghanistan and puts US forces in greater danger.  It’s a dangerous development in an already difficult mission, and it comes at a time when the White House has tried to convince major coalition members to extend their commitments, especially Canada.  Hillary Clinton and State appear to be completely in the dark and ineffective at resolving the issue, which arose earlier in the week as well.  Whatever State has done with Karzai, it obviously isn’t working — and Karzai’s public accusation that the UN mission has become an occupation will give some of our partners an excuse to pull out just when we’ve increased our commitment to fighting in Afghanistan.


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Wherein Obama is not like Bush.

catmman on April 5, 2010 at 9:34 AM

One of the few bright spots of this administration has been its handling of Afghanistan.

Ya mean like telling the world that we start pulling troops out next summer and Karzi is on his own. That the current Afghanistan government is corrupt and the elections were fraudulent?

You mean that kind of policy?

Skandia Recluse on April 5, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Hillary must have given him a Resent Button.

Patrick S on April 5, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Glad the adults are in charge.
/sarc

Zero and his admin. are giving us signs that yes things can get worse and let’s show everyone how.

Brat4life on April 5, 2010 at 9:36 AM

Funny how community organizing doesn’t work outside of the helpless, hopeless, and powerless.

And even then it only keeps them helpless, hopeless, and powerless.

uknowmorethanme on April 5, 2010 at 9:37 AM

CIA needs to make this problem go away.

WoosterOh on April 5, 2010 at 9:38 AM

Burn Karzai’s personal poppy fields. See how he likes that.

OldEnglish on April 5, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Perhaps making the ROE even more restrictive on our troops is the answer. Take away all their ammo? No more civilian casualties and Karzai would then be completely trustworthy.

a capella on April 5, 2010 at 9:42 AM

I bet, Hopey/Changey demanded that Karzai tote the
Liberal Socialist way,or the highway!!

Jus sayin!!(sarc).

canopfor on April 5, 2010 at 9:46 AM

This guy and his brother are as bad and crooked as Saddam…

PatriotRider on April 5, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Hillary Clinton and State appear to be completely in the dark and ineffective at resolving the issue, which arose earlier in the week as well.

pretty much says it all..

cmsinaz on April 5, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Karai can read the writing on the wall, everyone is itching to pull out, with Karzai set up to be left holding the bag. Not the right thing for him to say, but I can understand his concerns. Its a tough situation over there, and artificial timelines only make it worse.

Daveyardbird on April 5, 2010 at 9:50 AM

I guess Karzai did not get the memo that Barry Obama is “the Christ”. Oops! I mean Barry Obama is “the Prophet”!

Really Right on April 5, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Between the CIA drone attacks and the capture of taliban/AQ terrorists, Karzai is probably wondering when he will be next. If the pursuit of the terrorists gets to close for comfort or to close to home for him switching his loyalties would be no big deal.

fourdeucer on April 5, 2010 at 9:57 AM

B+

Dingbat63 on April 5, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Karzai: US, UN pushing me towards toward the Taliban

fify

db on April 5, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Terrific.

CP on April 5, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Quick, send Karzai an iPod with the Cairo speech on it!

rogerb on April 5, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Obama is seen as weak. That’s deadly in any war situation but it’s especially catastrophic when dealing with Muslims. The entire foundation of Islam is based on the strength of the enemy.

Karzai is being smart. Only a fool backs a loser.

Jaynie59 on April 5, 2010 at 10:16 AM

But…but…but…I thought this was going to happen…

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together

right2bright on April 5, 2010 at 10:23 AM

At one point, Mr. Karzai suggested that he himself would be compelled to join the other side —that is, the Taliban—if the parliament didn’t back his controversial attempt to take control of the country’s electoral watchdog from the United Nations

Karzai wants to be the sole arbitor of the validity of his own election?

I’m pretty much the last person to defend the United Nations. But if it’s a choice between either them or the Taliban monitoring elections, this is one of the rare instances where I’ll side with the UN.

logis on April 5, 2010 at 10:25 AM

How dare them speak of our “living prophet”…Obama is a prophet of the people, he promised us that relations would be healed, all would love and adore us…if we can’t trust a living prophet, who can we trust?

right2bright on April 5, 2010 at 10:25 AM

The joys of nation-building among the Muslims.

Tzetzes on April 5, 2010 at 10:35 AM

The UN and I suppose the US state department dropped the ball when Karzai was let to get away with rigging the elections. I don’t see how there could be a drastic improvement of the situation there without a legitimate Afghani government. Now we will have to wait until next election for a chance of getting one and by then Karzai’s grip is only going to be stronger.

BTW the lack of legitimate own government was the problem also in Vietnam. Allowing Yeltsin to get away with this was also what lead to Putin and derailed Russia from the path of reforms and democracy.

I cannot be sure if Condy and Bush could have done a better job in controlling Karzai with respect to the elections, but I do strongly believe Bush would have stuck to principles which would have done much to avoid this mess.

kittysaidwoof on April 5, 2010 at 10:51 AM

The WSJ article contains no quote by Karzai stating he might switch sides. Where did Rosenberg and Zahori get this info?

Christien on April 5, 2010 at 10:55 AM

We need to put two in this guy’s head.

fleiter on April 5, 2010 at 10:55 AM

but I do strongly believe Bush would have stuck to principles which would have done much to avoid this mess.

kittysaidwoof on April 5, 2010 at 10:51 AM

There is the key…they knew that Bush meant business, they felt he was a bit of a “cowboy”.
There is something right about having the reputation of “punching back” when provoked…right or wrong, they may not like it, but they had to respect it or at least fear it.

right2bright on April 5, 2010 at 11:11 AM

So Karzai only began playing the US like a violin after Bush left office? Whatever works, chaps.

aengus on April 5, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Whatever State has done with Karzai, it obviously isn’t working — and Karzai’s public accusation that the UN mission has become an occupation will give some of our partners an excuse to pull out just when we’ve increased our commitment to fighting in Afghanistan.

Technically, I suppose, Karzai is an ally. So in that vein Obama and his administration are being consistent in executing their foreign policy: Diss U.S. allies, schmooze up to U.S. enemies. No surprises there.

KendraWilder on April 5, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Obama attempting to run the show as usual?

jeanie on April 5, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Karzai is not only threatening to leave us for the Taliban he is already giving big wet kisses to Herr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

David Ignatius: “Karzai has caused consternation among Americans recently because of his defiantly independent rhetoric and his invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Kabul. His tirade Thursday against meddling by the U.S. and its allies will deepen that concern. But it’s not surprising that he’s bristling against U.S. pressure to reform, or dickering with his Iranian neighbor. Politics in this part of the world is a contact sport, and we shouldn’t be afraid of Afghan expressions of sovereignty.”

David Ignatius thinks it’s all no big deal but he is insane.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM

If Karzi wants to meet with the Taliban….I would encourage him to do so. In fact, I would encourage him to meet with as many high ranking Taliban in one easily located position as possible.

R Square on April 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

One of the few bright spots of this administration has been its handling of Afghanistan.

Escalating by 100% the American troop levels ala LBJ? His General, Stanley McCrystal, changing the ROE to value Afghan lives over American lives, with the not surprising increase in American deaths and maimings?

Despite the long and public Hamlet-like delay over making a decision to properly support the COIN strategy Barack Obama had proclaimed since his days as a candidate

The “COIN” strategy only makes sense when the enemy is a foreign element to the people.

the right decisions have mostly been made and followed by Obama.

I don’t think he has got a single thing right yet.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM

And in other great news, the Obama administration has now annoyed India by linking the India-Pakistan relationship to progress in Afghanistan

Obama kisses up to Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia but is more than ready to damage relations with Israel,India, Canada etc

All those idiots who voted for Obama, must be really happy with the way things are going now.

nagee76 on April 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM

He sounds like every tin-pot dictator from Central America and sub-Saharan Africa during the height of the Cold War; trying to play the Soviets against the Western powers for cash and rewards. This is just his way of saying “Buy me! Buy me! Act now and get a free press plaudit!”

Unimpressive, and so-o-o yesterday. Yawn.

ss396 on April 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM


Hamid Karzai is making some pretty unpleasant friends
President Karzai’s links to Iran and the Taliban are causing increasing concern.
When you are fighting someone else’s war, it is generally a good idea to make sure they are on your side, even if they harbour doubts about the wisdom of the strategy being pursued.

On both of my recent visits to Kabul, senior Nato officers have privately expressed their deepening concern about Mr Karzai’s personal dealings with the Taliban – which, I’m told, now take place on an almost daily basis. For the head of a government that is committed to a process of political reconciliation, establishing a dialogue with the Taliban makes perfectly good sense. But Mr Karzai’s refusal to discuss the precise nature of his contacts with the insurgents has led some Western officials to conclude that the Afghan president has an altogether different agenda: that of encouraging the Taliban to continue their attacks on Nato. That was certainly the view of one American general I met, who was convinced that Mr Karzai was backing the Taliban.

Nor have Western concerns about Mr Karzai’s true loyalties been allayed by the Afghan president’s recent diplomatic forays to China and Iran. Neither of these countries can be said to be well-disposed towards the success of Nato’s mission in Afghanistan: in fact, Iran is actively engaged in trying to wreck it. Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, accused Iran of playing a “double game” when he visited Afghanistan last month – on the one hand supporting Mr Karzai, on the other providing the Taliban with the technology to make their roadside bombs even more deadly. But if, as some American officials believe, Mr Karzai is himself in league with the Taliban, then the Iranian policy seems to make more sense.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:47 PM

In Afghanistan, We Surge, Yet Iran Wins

In March, Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai visited A-jad [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] in Tehran to make merry for the Nowruz holiday; then, following Karzai’s three-day visit to Beijing, Karzai reciprocated, giving A-jad what the New York Times called “the red-carpet treatment” in Kabul where he “delivered a fiery anti-American speech inside Afghanistan’s presidential palace.” That would be the same presidential palace that is ultimately protected by U.S. troops. With Karzai at his side, A-jad “accused the United States of promoting terrorism.”

Kind of takes the bounce out of the “surge” to have your own puppet pull your strings.
And what did Karzai say back? According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Karzai riffed on brotherly love, praising “Tehran for spending hundreds of millions of dollars in rebuilding roads, providing electricity, education and health care in parts of Afghanistan.”

No mention of Iran’s generous military assistance, including IED assistance, to the Taliban.

And then, of course, there is Iraq -

Back to A-jad’s [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] busy whirl. Even as he was shaking Kabul’s dust from his boots, he was preparing to receive a delegation from Iraq. Seems that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is trying to build a parliamentary bloc large enough to transform his whisker-close, second-place-finish in March elections into ultimate victory — and what better place to do Iraqi political horse-trading than in Iran? Last week, Maliki delegations visited A-jad in Tehran and Moqtada al-Sadr in Qom.

I don’t think Bernie Madoff ever played his investors for bigger suckers than Karzai and Maliki and Ahmadinejad are playing America for.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Circa 2049:

Just about ten twenty thirty forty years ago I set out on Obama’s Afghanistan road,
Seekin’ my fame and glory, lookin’ to turn the POS mullah’s hemorrhoid into a pot of gold.
Well, things got bad, and things got worse, I guess you will know the tune.
Oh ! lord, stuck in Obama’s Afghanistan yet again.

Flew in yet again on a big plane, I hope I’ll be in one piece flyin out when I go.
I was yet again just passin’ through, must now be yet another 5 10 15 20 tours or more.
Running out of time and patience [
“Not to complain but whatever the hell happened to my youth?!”], looks like they took still more of my friends.
Oh ! lord, Im stuck in Obama’s Afghanistan yet again.

The Hope and Change man in the White House said yet again I was on my way.
Somewhere I lost his connection, he ran out of words to say.
I came into Kabul, yet another one year stand, looks like the plans fell through yet again
Oh ! lord, stuck in Obama’s Afghanistan yet again.

Mmmm…
If I only had a woman [“Hey Jack, do you remember what a woman is?”], for evry Obama tour Ive done.
And evry time Ive had to fight while cheered on by CINO’s Obama and his many successors sat back home oblivious to Islam and power drunk.
You know, Id like to catch the next plane back to where Im from.
Oh ! lord, Im stuck in Obama’s Afghanistan yet again.
Oh ! lord, Im stuck in Obama’s Afghanistan yet again.

- CCR Soldier Boy

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:51 PM

I don’t think Bernie Madoff ever played his investors for bigger suckers than Karzai and Maliki and Ahmadinejad are playing America for.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:48 PM

That’s because Madoff actually had to work to fool his investors.

Dhimmi fools in America just line up for the privilege of being fooled by Muslims.

Disturb the Universe on April 5, 2010 at 12:53 PM

However, this eruption by Karzai threatens to undermine everything we’ve done.

What has “undermined” everything we have done is that our “leaders” don’t seem to have a clue about the nature of Islam.

You can rent a muslim but you can’t buy him.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Dhimmi fools in America just line up for the privilege of being fooled by Muslims.

Disturb the Universe on April 5, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Even Hillary caught on to Bill eventually.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Whatever State has done with Karzai, it obviously isn’t working — and Karzai’s public accusation that the UN mission has become an occupation will give some of our partners an excuse to pull out just when we’ve increased our commitment to fighting in Afghanistan.

By staying we are violating Murphy’s First Rule of Holes. When in a hole, FIRST STOP DIGGING!!!

You got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
You’ve got to know when to surge ‘em
And when to walk away

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 1:08 PM

I doubt whether all the Afghan army would follow Karzai into embracing the Taliban or Iran. Remember what happened to the Iranian army leaders when Khomeini took over from the Shah

KW64 on April 5, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Once you allow a Sharia Law-based “Islamic” state to be set up after you defeat its openly-terroristic wing, you then set yourself up for this lunacy.

Stop building Islamic states!

They are pre-programmed to be our enemies.

The Koran tells them so.

Forever.

profitsbeard on April 5, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Trying to rule a bunch of ignorant peasants who don’t want to acknowledge any authority greater than their local ‘big man’ by supporting an Islamist theocracy doesn’t work? How about that!

…sigh…at least we might be able to salvage Iraq.

Dark-Star on April 5, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Karzai is hedging his bets, he knows he will be under Obama’s bus. He’s just setting up camp for the day when it comes.

BTW..He’ll be taking several hundred billion of our tax dollars with him as he surely has trimmed 1-5% right off the top of any aide received as an “administrative fee”.

Alden Pyle on April 5, 2010 at 3:33 PM

I like the robes and fez of Karzai. Especially the robes. Most tasteful. I doubt his subjects can afford to dress so richly.
And we should have learned our lesson by now. Our troops are precious. So precious. If war it is, then make it a war that they can win. Do not waste their precious lives over half-measures for our service men and women deserve better than to be used so.
It is always a bad sign when the American people are divided over war (but this is inherent in a Democracy–opinions will vary). When opinion is not largely in favor of war, then alarms should go off.
Is it even possible to wage a proper war with the society we have today? I fear any substantive/majority support will be hard thing to find now and in the future.
Of course our lack of a proper educational system stressing our common heritage as Americans is a huge hindrance.
If one believes NO war can be justified, one is badly mistaken.
But too many think in this vapid manner, for they know not.

Sherman1864 on April 5, 2010 at 3:44 PM

. If war it is, then make it a war that they can win. Do not waste their precious lives over half-measures for our service men and women deserve better than to be used so.

Exactly. Better to be barbaric and win, in the end, than to play Mr.Rogers in a helmet and neither win nor fool anybody. As sick as that sounds…it’s the truth.

Better to explain why we acted like monsters and won than to recall how we half-@$$ed it and ended up with a decade-long boondoggle without any benefit.

Dark-Star on April 5, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Of course it was doomed to fail from the start. The Middle Eastern culture values strong leaders. Democracy, i.e. power sharing, is viewed as weakness. It was pure delusion to think we could establish little mini Americas of peace and justice in the region.

Once we leave Iraq it will fall to a dictator too. Just watch.

I hope we finally learn our lesson.

mistythestripper on April 5, 2010 at 9:55 PM

“If they have a choice between a weak horse and a strong horse, people naturally prefer the strong horse.” – Osama bin Laden

If we aren’t going to be the strong horse, at least long enough to make sure these countries get on their feet, they have to cut deals with the neighborhood bullies to ensure they don’t get massacred once we leave.

Obama has been telling the world since he started campaigning that he doesn’t want America to be the strong horse. He beats up on Israel and Honduras, sucks up to Iran and China and Russia, sends ambassadors to Syria, his flunkies talk about talking to Hamas. Everyone can see this. The liberal Lebanese leaders are now trying to curry favor with Assad, Iraqi leaders talk to Iran, and Karzai is senbding a shot across the bow: “Stop undermining me, or I’ll have my back against the wall.”

It’s not so much that we have to send more and more troops to fight for them, but we have to be seen to be standing up against the nasty regimes. Obama signals the opposite. I don’t blame Karzai one bit. And the idea of Obama of all people lecturing him on corruption has to make anyone gag.

YehuditTX on April 6, 2010 at 2:39 AM

I like the robes and fez of Karzai. Especially the robes. Most tasteful. I doubt his subjects can afford to dress so richly.

Oh please. How much can those robes and hat cost – $50? And he probably has 3 changes of outfit. Any middle-class Afghani can dress like that.

YehuditTX on April 6, 2010 at 2:42 AM

I’ve never figured out imposing democracy as a top down process. You must help thoroughly determined people to impose a democracy on their leaders for it to work. (Seems we have this problem in this country, too. That is why the Tea Party people are so important. “Democracy” should mean we’re in control not the likes of Karzai, Obama, Pelosi, or Reid.)

{^_^}

herself on April 6, 2010 at 9:41 AM