Well, this is fun. The Guardian is reporting that someone finally has given up on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
President Hamid Karzai has lost faith in the US strategy in Afghanistan and is increasingly looking to Pakistan to end the insurgency, according to those close to Afghanistan's former head of intelligence services.
Amrullah Saleh, who resigned last weekend, believes the president lost confidence some time ago in the ability of Nato forces to defeat the Taliban.
Karzai has lost faith in the nation that has sacrificed so many lives, and wasted so much money and time protecting him. But it's not exactly a surprise. As McClatchy reported, when Saleh and Interior Minister Hanif Atmar were pushed aside, last week:
Saleh and Atmar were both regarded by many Western officials as strong allies in the push to transform the Afghan government into a respected political force that won't have to rely on international forces of more than 100,000 troops to prevent the Taliban from again seizing power.
Their removal could weaken security ties between Karzai's cabinet and the international community, said Thomas Ruttig, a co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, an independent international research organization.
"The sacking of Saleh is a blow for the U.S., which had put a lot of resources into the (Afghan intelligence agency) and apparently had good intelligence cooperation with (it)," Ruttig said.
Karzai is said to be turning to Pakistan and softening his tone against the Taliban. He is said to be not leading the counterinsurgency, even though his leadership was supposed to be a key facet of the latest U.S. escalation strategy. None of this should be a surprise. It's just the latest examples of Karzai showing no respect for the U.S., and the administration that continues to coddle him.
A brief recap:
- Soon after taking office, President Obama ordered more troops to Afghanistan. In an interview, he said he thought the war was still winnable.
- In August, 2009, President Obama warned Karzai on fraud, corruption and ties to militias.
- In September, President Obama ordered more combat troops to Afghanistan, swapping them for non-combat troops, who would then be replaced by private contractors.
- In October, Karzai stole his national election.
- In November, Karzai's stolen election was made official. At which point, President Obama congratulated him. And again warned him to tackle corruption. At the end of the month, Obama ordered even more troops to Afghanistan.
- In March of this year, Karzai welcomed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian "President." Perhaps they shared a good laugh about stealing elections. Later that month, on his own visit to Afghanistan, President Obama again warned Karzai, this time on graft.
- In April, Karzai angered the White House by taking control of his nation's elections fraud watchdog. He also reportedly threatened to join the Taliban. For his part, President Obama was said to be fed up with Karzai's blaming the U.S. for his problems. That same month, President Obama was turning up the heat on Iran's Ahmadinejad, Karzai's new friend.
Add it up, and Karzai's total comes to three ignored warnings about corruption, one stolen election, one budding friendship with someone this administration considers a potential threat, one threatened alliance with the war's supposed enemy, and a general disregard of and disdain for the administration's war strategy. For which he has received from Obama two escalations of the U.S. troops protecting him, and one separate escalation of combat troops.
As Meteor Blades just wrote, America's longest war has no end in sight. Things continue to go badly. Both the Congressional Research Service and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction give no reason to think things will improve. Toward the end of that Guardian article, we find this:
The latest casualties yesterday took Nato's toll to 29 deaths in nine days, according to an AP count. The United States, whose some 94,000 troops vastly outnumber the rest of the allies' contributions in Afghanistan, has lost 17 service members since Sunday.
Hamid Karzai is turning to Pakistan. He continues to show no respect for President Obama or the U.S. effort. The purpose, the end game, and the exit strategy continue to elude.