A disturbing aspect of America’s commitment to provide more military help to Afghanistan is that president Hamid Karzai has not satisfactorily responded to U.S. demands that he root out corruption in his government — and among many civilian Afghan agencies and their people.
Karzai quickly pledged that he would “spare no effort” to help put into place the new American war strategy that will involve at least 30,000 more U.S. troops in the region.
But Karzai has just emerged from what seemed to be another fraudulent election, and among the leading crooks in his regime is his own brother. The brother is a known thief and embezzler who has been getting paid by our own CIA to provide information he should be giving for nothing, if he is a viable representative of his brother.
Will Karzai begin his cleanup of corruption by slapping his brother into line? Embedded analysts contend that the corruption among Afghan officials and top-level citizens is so deeply ingrained that Karzai faces an impossible task.
In announcing the new troop influx, President Obama has set a goal of July 2011, to begin drawing down U.S. forces. Immediately, Afghan leaders said that is too quickly to meet their needs.
American leaders outwardly indicate the Afghans can build up to meet their challenges when Americans leave. Inwardly, they likely are uncertain and concerned about a return of Taliban terrorists and their takeover goals.
Americans, including President Obama, have no reason to trust Karzai to handle a variety of key matters. But he is all they have to work with and work through so they have to apply as much pressure as possible to get the job done.