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Why Hamid Karzai Makes a Bad Partner for the U.S. - Peter W. Galbraith, Washington Post opinion.
President Obama will soon have 100,000 troops fighting a counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan. Their success depends on having a credible Afghan partner. Unfortunately, Obama's partner is Hamid Karzai.
In the eight years since the Bush administration helped install Karzai as president after the fall of the Taliban, he has run a government so ineffective that Afghans deride him as being no more than the mayor of Kabul and so corrupt that his country ranks 179th on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, just ahead of last-place Somalia, which has no government at all.
Afghanistan held a presidential election last August just as Obama was ramping up U.S. support for the war. Although funded by the United States and other Western countries and supported by the United Nations, the elections were massively fraudulent. Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission (IEC) - which, despite its name, is appointed by and answers to Karzai - oversaw massive vote-rigging in which at least one-third of Karzai's tally, more than 1 million votes, was fake. A separate, independently appointed Electoral Complaints Commission eventually tossed out enough Karzai votes to force a second round of balloting, but the IEC ensured that the voting procedures were even more prone to fraud than those applied to the first round. Karzai's main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, rightly chose not to participate in the second round...
Much more at The Washington Post.