I was blown away when I read this yesterday (emphasis mine):
Visiting his home province last week to rally support for the offensive, the president was instead confronted by a barrage of complaints about corruption and misrule. At a meeting of 1,500 tribal leaders and elders, he appeared to offer them a veto over military action. “Are you happy or unhappy for the operation to be carried out?” he asked, according to the Times.
The elders shouted back: “We are not happy.”
“Then until the time you say you are happy, the operation will not happen,” Karzai was quoted as saying by the Sunday Times. (Source)
Say wha? What did we do to Karzai? What the… is going on over there in Afganistan?
So, I did a little digging. Turns out… Obama has pretty much killed our ties with Karzai in a serious of missteps and foreign policy blunders, starting back before he was even elected.
Read about Obama’s history with Karzai. Because it starts in May ’08 when Karzai holds out an olive branch and tells BigO that he was, “At your disposal, Senator Obama.” Obama’s response? He essentially called Karzai a liar. Then 10 days before BigO’s coronation, Biden pretty much told Karzai he wasn’t worth O’s time. Instead of monthly teleconferences Karzai enjoyed with GW, BigO has all but ignored him until last week, when BigO flew out there and gave Karzai a 25 minute lecture about corruption in government. *cough cough* Excuse me? Pot, meet kettle. Serisously. But I digress.
Apparently, BigO’s admin has also decided that Karzai’s brother is a drug dealer, and we want him “on a death list.” Say wha?? Way to make friends and influence people there, BigO. Jeez. Of course, BigO’s admin also apparently pushed for Karzai’s opposition to win the last election out there, and started casting doubt on the results before the votes were even counted. Then there’s this:
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged on Tuesday that Karzai is Afghanistan’s elected leader — but that was about as far as he’d go. He repeatedly declined to call Karzai an “ally” of the United States, and he hung the Obama administration’s carrot far behind the stick.
“Our position on this is that when the Afghan leaders take steps to improve governance and root out corruption, then the president will say kind words,” Gibbs said. “We’ll continue to speak out again if — if need be.”
At the same time, Gibbs suggested the White House could cancel the May 12 meeting in Washington that Obama and Karzai have scheduled, though the administration had maintained for days that the meeting wouldn’t be compromised as a result of Karzai’s recent outbursts. (source)
The Afghans are scared. We’ve already announced a date when we will leave. We’ve told the enemy that if they just hold out long enough we’ll leave and they can take over. Our Iraqi allies wouldn’t have joined us in the fight against the insurgents if they didn’t think we were there for the long haul. It’s the same in Afghanistan. In fact, the Afgans are already letting us know that if they help or cooperate with the government or the NATO forces, they’ll be killed.
On the streets of the city this weekend there appeared to be little or no support for a NATO push in the province. “Look what happened in Marjah,” said one local government official in Kandahar, referring to the last US offensive launched in February in central Helmand province.
“The US controls the place by day but the Taliban control it by night. What is the point? If you help the government, you will be murdered.”
At a popular coffee shop in the city centre, Khaled, a medical student from Kabul, said the influence of the Taliban was creeping back into the area.
“A Nato offensive here will not help,” he added.
“We know what they do. They arrive in great numbers and provide security for two weeks and then they go and the insecurity returns.” (source)