RealNews

Karzai Attempts Diplomacy With Afghan Warlords

With efforts to disarm private militias faltering four months before scheduled national elections, the government of President Hamid Karzai is trying to appease powerful regional leaders who have repeatedly defied his authority and resisted attempts to dismantle their forces. With the strong encouragement of U.S. officials, Karzai has retreated from potential armed confrontations with two of Afghanistan’s most prominent militia bosses. He recently paid a long-distance courtesy call on one of them, Gov. Ismail Khan of Herat province, and reportedly has been negotiating with the other, Gen. Abdurrashid Dostum, who is seeking a government post in exchange for decommissioning his tanks and troops. Some Afghan officials and international observers are critical of Karzai’s outreach efforts, saying that rewarding recalcitrant strongmen for the sake of short-term stability could imperil Afghanistan’s long-term prospects for democracy. Full Story

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