Afghan Leader Is Seen to Flout Influence of U.S. - NYTimes.com: "“He [Karzai] has developed a complete theory of American power,” said an Afghan who attended the lunch and who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. “He believes that America is trying to dominate the region, and that he is the only one who can stand up to them.”
Mr. Karzai said that, left alone, he could strike a deal with the Taliban, but that the United States refuses to allow him. The American goal, he said, was to keep the Afghan conflict going, and thereby allow American troops to stay in the country."
Thomas L. Friedman today gives voice to the American frustration after Hamid Karzai revenges on Obama by inviting Ahmadinejad to his palace for a fierce anti-American speech. The above information makes the present goal of educating Karzai's forces to take over control of Afghanistan defunct.
Friedman's conclusion is that Karzai would betray America even if they helped him to restore order in Afghanistan. There have been other evidence for this development in that Karzai have sold the right to a giant copper mine to the Chinese and not to a country of the NATO coalition. This is in the same vein as Iraq's choice of Syria as a main business partner. Yes, it should be noted that other countries are indeed involved in the conflict which is not referred to in the two above articles.
Karzai is frustrated himself, apparently, and wants to solve the situation regionally and is even soliciting advice from Iran. However, this is a man that is rumored to only have control of Kabul. It would then be strange that he wouldn't want the Americans or NATO to dominate the region. It would, at least theoretically, give him some peace of mind. With the above information it is emphasized that the actual reason for why NATO is present in Afghanistan is not something that there is a firm consensus about. McChrystal's new strategy is of course evidence for that the presence of foreign troops is problematic and Karzai's idea on peace with the Taliban probably would mean that all foreign troops should leave.
As Friedman points out NATO is in the middle of a surge when Karzai turns his back on them. Therefore it looks like there is a risk for the whole operation might fizzle because without Karzai and his troops support there might not be enough people to clear, hold and develop the area. Karzai is probably sufficient friendly with the Taliban via his war lords that he wants to save their position by going against NATO, ie, limit the damage. If the next year still develops into a take-over and controlling of the land by NATO the question is what they would do then? Find another leader might not be that easy in a country without a developed structure.
Sverker Göranson, the Swedish military chief, said in a recent interview that no operations where performed any longer without the presence of Karzai's men. The above delineated conflict between the US and Afghanistan must mean that severe strain and distrust must have been inflicted on all operations. President Obama emphasized on his recent visit to Kabul that Karzai have to do more on corruption. It should then be remembered that Afghanistan is ranked 179 of 180 possible, only Somalia is lower, on the Transparency International corruption index. I think it is fair to ask if much progress can be expected under these circumstances?
Well, casualties were up last month compared to last year and this would spell the nightmare scenario where the yearly increase in casualties would continue despite the new strategy. The conclusion I can draw from available information is that the situation has become very precarious. Göranson claimed that more Swedish casualties were expected. I lost the light at the end of the tunnel here, I must admit.
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