Monday, May 4, 2009

Hamid Karzai criticised for selecting former warlord as election running mate

For a leader who owes his position to support from the US, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai surely likes to push that support right to the edge. Only a few weeks ago he upset American observers with his support for a draft law that effectively would have legalized marital rape. Only a couple of days ago he was able to prevail upon his chief political rival to drop out of the upcoming presidential election - as Juan Cole has noted, much to the consternation and dismay of US leaders, who hoped to see him unseated.

Now, Karzai tells his US backers that he has selected as his running mate "Marshal" Fahim, a warlord suspected in major human rights abuses. One commentator puts it bluntly:

"I want to move to a situation where leaders and people who have a reputation for being involved in serious human rights violations disappear from the political landscape, and not the opposite"
And notes another Western diplomat,

"The question really is: if Karzai gets killed on August 21 [the day after the election date] who is the president? It's Marshal Fahim. If he is just put in the presidential palace and given a good car and nice life then fine. But if he gets involved in policy then it's goodbye to the future of Afghanistan."
And this is what the impending military-civilian "surge" of US personnel to Afghanistan is supposed to be in support of?!

Afghan president Hamid Karzai criticised for selecting former warlord as election running mate | World news |

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