Two thousand American troops have died to keep in power an unscrupulous incompetent who isn’t even grateful. And Karzai is confident that we’ll keep the money flowing after we leave. Meanwhile, he appears to be cutting deals with side-jumping tribal chieftains, fence-sitters and our outright enemies to ensure his own survival.
Which brings us back to that order to remove our Special Forces from a key province. Our special operators have been by far the most effective tool we’ve had on the ground in Afghanistan. While the tactics forced on our other troops left them easy targets for roadside bombs and assassins, the SFers built the only counterinsurgency programs that worked.
With Karzai’s Afghan National Police hated for their corruption and unreliability, our Green Berets built village militias — neighborhood policing, frontier-style. They empowered locals to protect themselves. Unsurprisingly, the locals liked it.
Karzai resisted the program: The National Police were under his control, but not those village self-defense forces. Solution? Trumped-up charges that Afghan elements associated with our troops engaged in torture and kidnapping.