Karzai endorses strict new "code of conduct" proposed by Afghan Muslim clerics

I guess he figures that if the country will be back in Taliban hands soon enough, he might as well get ahead of the curve. Maybe when they’re back in power they’ll even keep him on as a figurehead president, a bridge to the west so that NATO countries can’t cut ties with Afghanistan in protest of Taliban rule as easily as they otherwise might.

Last week, Mark Steyn wrote at NRO, “Six weeks after the last NATO soldier leaves Afghanistan, it will be as if we were never there… America’s longest war will leave nothing behind.” Not true. Karzai might still be there, busily rubber-stamping each new proposal to restore the country to its glory days of late summer 2001.

President Hamid Karzai’s Tuesday remarks backing the Ulema Council’s document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban…

Among the rules: Women should not travel without a male guardian and women should not mingle with strange men in places like schools, markets or offices. Beating one’s wife is prohibited only if there is no “Shariah-compliant reason,” it said, referring to the principles of Islamic law.

Asked about the code of conduct at a press conference in the capital, Karzai said it was in line with Islamic law and was written in consultation with Afghan women’s groups. He did not name the groups that were consulted…

The exception for certain types of beatings also appears to contradict Afghan law that prohibits spousal abuse. And the guidelines also promote rules on divorce that give women few rights, a real turnaround from pledges by Karzai to reform Afghan family law to make divorces more equitable, Barr said.

Ignoring pledges is Karzai’s forte. If you’re not sufficiently enraged and depressed already, go read this NYT piece about how Afghanistan’s endemic corruption remains as endemic as ever, thanks in part to Karzai continuing to look the other way despite promising to end the “culture of impunity” at an international summit next year. Literally no one has been prosecuted for graft, even though Petraeus’s team compiled damning evidence against an Afghan general and handed it to Karzai to make things easy. And the punchline, of course, is that there’s nothing we can do: The more we alienate him, the more headaches we’ll have during our vaporous, halting peace talks with Pakistan and the Taliban. He and his government are too big to fail, even though they will fail once we’re gone, and realistically there’s no one better to replace him with. Says military expert Anthony Cordesman, “If you find people who aren’t corrupt, it is largely because they haven’t had the opportunity.” We tried to build a kinda sorta quasi-modern-ish state on a tribalist, mostly illiterate Islamist culture, and here we are. No wonder David Warren’s thrown in the towel.

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