After Karzai's visit to Washington, fears about U.S. withdrawal linger in Afghanistan
[Washington Post] When President Hamid
Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai
... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a
Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use...
left for Washington this week, some Afghans wondered what he would bring back. Their leader had a long list of demands, but he would be meeting with an American president whose top priority was a U.S. military withdrawal.
The meeting between the two leaders at the White House on Friday appears to have yielded progress on at least a few of the issues on Karzai's list -- a U.S. pullout from Afghan villages and a full handover of the country's military detention center at Bagram.
But neither Obama nor Karzai spoke concretely about the future size of the U.S. presence here after 2014, with Karzai saying, "Numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in Afghanistan."
In Kabul, though, there's still great interest in that question, and some voiced disappointment Saturday that neither president offered clarity on an issue that weighs heavily on the minds of many Afghans.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-13