“Karzai has one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. But what is clear is that he isn’t doing it anywhere near as well as he used to. One can’t help but think that someone who has not had their character changed by the stresses and strains of the job might, at least briefly, do better and be better for Afghanistan.”
That’s the case from the Spectator for why Hamid Karzai must lose Thursday’s election. Five years ago, Mr. Karzai was brought in to help rebuild a broken country. Today, Afghanistan has seen little change. Liberating the women of Afghanistan was one of the regime’s objectives. Yesterday that objective was considered by many to have been crushed when a controversial law allowing women to be raped and starved if they do not have sex with their husbands was approved.
Campaigning for the Afghan elections has now closed leading to new fears about transparency and corruption on the day of the polls. Successful elections will not just be a sign of success for Karzai, but also for the international community – a justification that millions of pounds worth of aid have been well spent. Should we praise Karzai for even attempting to hold a second presidential election?
Karzai may be leading but that doesn’t guarantee success. And if Karzai’s not our man – who is? Former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah is second in the polls. Here’s the lowdown on him. Should we just be working with the Taliban rather than dealing with “interim puppets?”
A “near superhuman task” writes Christian Bose with some reservations. “The empathetic approach to Karzai has its risks, of course – chief among them that we aren’t tough enough with him, he walks all over us, and then for our trouble we’re perceived by most Afghans as propping up a leader they are increasingly frustrated with. That said, the Obama administration has been pursuing the alternative model, and it may be working out worse. ”
Is up Karzai up to the job or has he had his chance?