Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pashtuns see our hypocrisy

Correspondent Chris Sands, whose reporting from Afghanistan has been amongst the best available, makes some interesting observations:

The National (UAE)
Isolated Karzai grapples for credibility
Chris Sands

November 18 - [...] Despite coming from Kandahar and being a Pashtun himself, Mr Karzai has lost most of his credibility among the very community he should be able to rely on.

Across southern and eastern and parts of western Afghanistan, where the war is taking a devastating toll, there is dwindling support for a government that has been unable to stop or even slow the bloodshed.

In Ghazni, Helmand and Paktia, democracy means death by air strike and doors smashed down after dark as the men of the family are hauled off to who knows where. It means paying bribes to officials and being scared of a police force that is accused of carrying out kidnappings and murders. Most of all, it means broken promises.

Mr Karzai’s offer to Mr Omar was really an appeal to the Afghans whose allegiance he will need if he is to stand any chance of winning the presidential election due next year.

Those Pashtuns who do not now openly support the Taliban usually have at least some sympathy for the insurgents. They see hypocrisy in the international community’s willingness to pay, forgive and empower warlords from the north, while killing and arresting militants from the south...

[I]t should be remembered that Mr Karzai is not the only person to blame for the mistakes that have helped cause the unfolding tragedy.

Diplomats in Kabul, politicians in London, and much of the world’s media like to mock him now. Yet they are often the same people who adored him when he first arrived on the scene. In their own ways, they are just as responsible for the continuing destruction of this beautiful country. (link)

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