Karzai makes irrational demands
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has sharply criticized the United States and NATO, demanding a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces.How many months would Karzai last if the US and NATO did what he asked? Karzai appears to be a man losing his composure and his mind. It is not like we are staying in Afghanistan because it is such a wonderful place. Karzai knows the reason it is taking so long to defeat the Taliban is their sanctuaries in Pakistan that we are only now coming to grips with. Our leaving want make that situation better. Now will halting the bombing of Taliban positions make them go away either.
Karzai's comments came late Tuesday in a speech to a U.N. Security Council delegation visiting Kabul, the capital, this week. He accused the international community of failing "to fight the Taliban properly" since the U.S.-led war in the country began in 2001.
"This war has gone on for seven years. The Afghans don't understand anymore how come a little force like the Taliban can continue to exist, can continue to flourish, can continue to launch attacks with 40 countries in Afghanistan, with entire NATO force in Afghanistan, with the entire international community behind them," Karzai said. "Still we are not able to defeat the Taliban."
Karzai, whose five-year term ends next year, has become increasingly critical of the international community. He has complained bitterly about mounting civilian casualties caused by U.S.-led airstrikes in Afghanistan and has called for a halt to NATO raids on Afghan villages. In recent weeks, he has become more forceful in his calls for negotiations with the Taliban, saying he would guarantee safe passage to Taliban leader Mohammad Omar if he agreed to talks with the government.
Karzai, who was elected in 2004 after serving as interim president following the fall of the Taliban in 2002, is facing stiff political competition ahead of the presidential election set for September. With insurgents and criminal groups in control of parts of the country, his political foes have seized on the failure to effectively counter the threat, with some calling for an earlier election.
Karzai probably needs to give someone else a chance to run the country after the next election. He sounds burned out and emotional.