Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Rashid: Karzai going all anti-American

Ahmed Rashid, who knows Afghanistan like Peter Gammons knows the Red Sox, is always interesting on Hamid Karzai, but his new piece about the Afghan president is particularly striking. The must-reading meat of it: Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. When I spoke with him earlier this ...

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Ahmed Rashid, who knows Afghanistan like Peter Gammons knows the Red Sox, is always interesting on Hamid Karzai, but his new piece about the Afghan president is particularly striking. The must-reading meat of it:

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. When I spoke with him earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai told me that the United States has been unable to bring peace to Afghanistan or to secure cooperation from Pakistan, which continues to give sanctuary to the Taliban… By the end of our talk, it was quite clear to me that his views on global events, on the future course of NATO's military surge in southern Afghanistan, and on nation building efforts throughout his country have undergone a sea change. His single overriding aim now is making peace with the Taliban and ending the war -- and he is convinced it will help resolve all the other problems he faces, such as corruption, bad governance, and the lack of an administration.

Karzai's new outlook is the most dramatic political shift he has undergone in the twenty-six years that I have known him.

Ahmed Rashid, who knows Afghanistan like Peter Gammons knows the Red Sox, is always interesting on Hamid Karzai, but his new piece about the Afghan president is particularly striking. The must-reading meat of it:

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. When I spoke with him earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai told me that the United States has been unable to bring peace to Afghanistan or to secure cooperation from Pakistan, which continues to give sanctuary to the Taliban… By the end of our talk, it was quite clear to me that his views on global events, on the future course of NATO’s military surge in southern Afghanistan, and on nation building efforts throughout his country have undergone a sea change. His single overriding aim now is making peace with the Taliban and ending the war — and he is convinced it will help resolve all the other problems he faces, such as corruption, bad governance, and the lack of an administration.

Karzai’s new outlook is the most dramatic political shift he has undergone in the twenty-six years that I have known him.

This reminds me of something David Kilcullen was saying a couple of years ago, that maybe the only way to get out of these wars will be to get kicked out by the government you helped create.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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