Report: US and Europe agree to appoint Afghan ‘prime minister’ to dilute Hamid Karzai’s power

March 23, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The Obama administration and European allies are preparing to plant a high-profile figure in the heart of the Afghan government in a direct challenge to Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, according to a Guardian of London report. The US is considering creating a new chief executive or prime ministerial position in an attempt to bypass Karzai, who has has fallen out of favor in Washington. Many officials are said to be disillusioned with the extent of the corruption and incompetence in the Karzai government, and are faced with the likelihood the Afghan president will win re-election in August. According to Transparency International’s corruption index, Afghanistan slipped from being perceived as the 117th most corrupt government in the world in 2005 to 176th in 2008 – four places from the absolute bottom.

Reportedly the new plan will be unveiled at a special conference on Afghanistan at The Hague on March 31. The idea of a more dependable figure working alongside Karzai is one of the proposals to emerge from the White House review. In a further dilution of Karzai’s power, it is proposed that money be diverted from the Kabul government to the provinces.  Last month, President Obama ordered 17,000 more US troops to fight in Afghanistan. On Sunday, President Obama appeared on 60 Minutes and discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

“But we can’t lose sight of what our central mission is: the same mission that we had when we went in after 9/11. And that is, these folks can project violence against United States citizens, and that is something that we cannot tolerate. But what we can’t do is think that just a military approach in Afghanistan is going to be able to solve our problems. So what we’re looking for is a comprehensive strategy. And there’s got to be an exit strategy. There’s got to be a sense that this is not perpetual drift.”


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