Fartashphoto's Blog

Karzai, A paranoid and weak individual

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on December 3, 2010

Hundreds of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks paint a picture of corruption in Afghanistan at every level of government and society.

Cables from the U.S. ambassador in Kabul portray Afghan President Hamid Karzai as paranoid, with an “inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building.”

Many of the cables were sent from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul over the last two years. The New York Times, which had advance access to the estimated 250,000 documents leaked to WikiLeaks, reported the documents showed corruption’s “pervasive nature, its overwhelming scale, and the dispiriting challenge it poses to American officials.”

One cable from the U.S. mission in Kabul earlier this year noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, “appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist.”

Another Afghan minister warned U.S. diplomats that Karzai was “under great pressure from political leaders to accept a number of ministerial candidates whose technical skills are lacking.” The minister “argued that these political leaders are only thinking of dividing up the spoils rather than the quality of government needed to tackle Afghanistan’s problems.”

The cables also demonstrate an often difficult relationship between NATO allies and Karzai. At a meeting described in a cable in October 2008, a British official said the United Kingdom “continues to feel ‘deep frustration’ with Karzai. But he added: “I remind people that we — the international community — selected him.”

The New York Times cites another cable in which an Afghan official explained the “four stages” at which his colleagues skimmed money from development projects: “When contractors bid on a project, at application for building permits, during construction, and at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.”

U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry drew up a candid psychological profile of Karzai. In a cable dated July 7, 2009, Eikenberry wrote that one portrait of Karzai that emerged was “of a paranoid and weak individual unfamiliar with the basics of nation-building and overly self-conscious that his time in the spotlight of glowing reviews from the international community has passed.” At the same time, he was “an ever-shrewd politician who sees himself as a nationalist hero who can save the country from being divided by the decentralization-focused agenda of Abdullah [his leading rival for the presidency], other political rivals, neighboring countries, and the US.”

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