Tag Archives: Karzai

Another “K” Word

By Wajid Ali Syed


In almost every briefing pertaining to South Asia, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke says that he won’t use the ‘K word,’ by which he means Kashmir. This is sensible of him, knowing that any statement could escalate into an exchange of hot words between India and Pakistan (and India has made it clear it has no intention of bowing down before an meddling intermediary). Hence Ambassador Holbrooke understands the seriousness of the situation and thus avoids the “K” issue.

There is another increasingly controversial “K” that U.S. officials should refrain from using, especially in a derogatory manner. And that “K” stands for Karzai. Until recently the United States has treated the Afghan President as a puppet without realizing that his power base has grown in Afghanistan. It’s true that when Karzai was installed by the Bush administration he had little to no support in the country. But just the Bush era has passed and America has voted in a new President, time has not stood still for Karzai. The sooner the US realizes this the better for the Afghanistan, the NATO, the British and the US army. Over the years Karzai made himself matter in the country while rumors of his impending political death continued to circulate. The first sign of Karzai’s power was evident last year when the West discredited him during Afghanistan’s presidential elections. His opponent Abdullah Abdullah was openly supported by the Obama administration. The conflicting reports coming out of Afghanistan made the geniuses in Washington conclude that an ethnic Pashtun shouldn’t represent Afghanistan. Karzai didn’t take the news well. On the ground the situation was quite different. An intelligence expert based in Afghanistan said that if Abdullah Abdullah runs again he will still lose to Karzai. The reason? Abdullah Abdullah is of Tajik ethnicity.

Continue reading



Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Democracy, Kashmir, Obama, Taliban, USA, War On Terror

Pakistan is in pieces

[There is plenty here to stimulate a robust debate; Not that surprising, considering who the author is. PTH does not necessarily agree with the views expressed in this article.]

Belfast Telegraph, Tuesday, 6 April 2010             By Robert Fisk

I tried, in Pakistan, to define the sorrow which so constantly afflicts this country. The massive loss of life, the poverty, the corruption, the internal and external threats to its survival, the existentialism of Islam and the power of the army; perhaps Pakistan’s story can only be told in a novel. It requires, I suspect, a Tolstoy or a Dostoyevsky.

Pakistan ambushes you. The midday heat is also beginning to ambush all who live in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province. Canyons of fumes grey out the vast ramparts of the Bala Hisar fort.

“Headquarters Frontier Force” is written on the ancient gateway. I notice the old British cannon on the heights – and the spanking new anti-aircraft gun beside it, barrels deflected to point at us, at all who enter this vast metropolis of pain. There are troops at every intersection, bullets draped in belts over their shoulders, machine guns on tripods erected behind piles of sandbags, the sights of AK-47s brushing impersonally across rickshaws, and rubbish trucks and buses with men clinging to the sides. There are beards that reach to the waist. The soldiers have beards, too, sometimes just as long.

I am sitting in a modest downstairs apartment in the old British cantonment. A young Peshawar journalist sits beside me, talking in a subdued but angry way, as if someone is listening to us, about the pilotless American aircraft which now slaughter by the score – or the four score – along the Afghanistan border. “I was in Damadola when the drones came. They killed more than 80 teenagers – all students – and, yes they were learning the Koran, and the madrasah, the Islamic school, was run by a Taliban commander. But 80! Many of them came from Bajaur, which would be attacked later. Their parents came afterwards, all their mothers were there, but the bodies were in pieces. There were so many children, some as young as 12. We didn’t know how to fit them together.” Continue reading


Filed under Army, Colonialism, Democracy, History, Identity, India, Judiciary, Pakistan, Partition

Five Flawed Assumptions Of Obama’s Afghan Strategy

President Barack Obama knows the Afghan war is going badly, but he insists that the specter of an al-Qaeda comeback makes Afghanistan a “war of necessity”. So he has ordered some 30,000 new troops to the front, hoping to hold the line enough that Afghan forces can be built up to eventually take over the mission from the U.S. It may sound like a limited goal after the sweeping visions of democracy promised during the Bush years. But even that relatively modest strategy is based on some very questionable assumptions. Continue reading


Filed under Afghanistan, Obama, Pakistan, Terrorism, USA, war, War On Terror

Afghan Law is about Power not Culture

Mona Eltahawy

I thought I was used to seeing politicians bargain with each other.  A few concessions here and there to influential voting blocs are part of the elections game.

But Afghan President Hamid Karzai — the “liberal” darling of the international community — surely wins that game by throwing women’s rights like bargaining chips at the feet of religious conservatives he’s courting for Afghanistan’s August presidential election. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Rethinking Karzai in Kabul

Posted by YLH

All is not well in Kabul these days.   US Government has become increasingly disenchanted with the way Mr. Karzai has run his affairs in Kabul.  Now if the corruption charges were not enough,   he is alleged to have backed an effort to legalize marital rape under some false religious pretext.   One still remembers when Mr. Karzai was touted as the president of Afghanistan.  He was presented as the “George Washington” of Afghanistan- a chivalrous figure on a horse out riding on the crestwave of American military might to deliver democracy to Afghanistan. It has been almost eight years since he has remained in power achieving pathetically little and all he has given people are excuses.  Afghanistan is run by war lords who now call themselves governors.

Continue reading


Filed under Afghanistan, Taliban

Benazir Bhutto’s foreign policy

—Zafar Hilaly

How better to demonstrate that Benazir Bhutto truly lives in their hearts than to practice what she preached, namely, to take on and defeat the obscurantist threat facing Pakistan while forging closer and more meaningful cooperation with regional countries and, pre-eminently, India

The outcome of the battle against the Taliban, Benazir Bhutto believed, would not only determine Pakistan’s fate but her own. It would be her final battle. Hitherto, everything that had happened in her life and that of the country was in a sense a preparation for the war ahead. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan