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Big Afghan leaders don’t cry

Big Afghan leaders don’t cry

I’m no expert on Afgahanistan — but I know enough about the country to understand that crying in public probably won’t win you too many supporters:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai wept on Tuesday as he called on Afghans to “come to their senses” and move faster towards peace, or risk seeing the next generation flee abroa and lose their Afghan identity.

Afghans must live and work in their country and serve it, he said, as he identified for the first time some of the members of a peace council that will help seek a political rather than military end to fighting with Taliban-led insurgents.

“I do not want Mirwais, my son, to be a foreigner, I do not want this. I want Mirwais to be Afghan,” said Karzai, who himself spent many years in exile in Pakistan, while fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980s and later during Taliban rule.

“Therefore come to your senses … you are witnessing what is happening on our soil and only through our efforts can our homeland be ours,” he added, drawing huge applause from an audience at a international literacy day event in a Kabul school.

I wonder how the Taliban will make use of this? Aside from the crying, the sentiment here is not exactly inspiring: Apparently Karzai is considering getting out of Dodge, or at least sending his son abroad for safekeeping. What does that say about his confidence in his own leadership?

I hope Doug Lute and David Petraeus are drawing up contingency plans right now.

One other note: I’ve been reading the Woodward book, and apparently not only do some U.S. intelligence reports say that Karzai is manic-depressive, others say he smokes weed. Again: not confidence-inspiring.