The big question though, after all these years, is whether Karzai was, in the end, a great leader. Can he even hold a candle to the regional heroes he so publicly admires, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan?
Or was he more of a Shah Shujah, a fellow Durrani noble in the 19th century, who handed the famous Kohinoor diamond to Punjab’s Maharajah Ranjit Singh, served as colonial Britain’s puppet king, and did the craven alliance-appeasement thing until his assassination?
Was Karzai’s big-tent approach of accommodating powerbrokers, for instance, simply not appreciated by his bossy foreign overlords (who are not known for their cultural intelligence or diplomatic delicacy)?
Or does Karzai’s legacy lie somewhere in between?