Ambassador Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.
“…The staggering message that came out of US President Barack Obama’s hurried mission to the presidential palace in Kabul to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai last Sunday afternoon is that his own AfPak diplomats have let him down badly.
The US president is left with not a single functionary in his star-studded AfPak team on whom he can rely to hold meaningful interaction with the Afghanistan president.
…Why have things come to this impasse? The plain truth is that Karzai distrusts Holbrooke. He shares the widespread opinion in the capitals of the region that Holbrooke is under a Pakistani spell. On the other hand, Holbrooke’s version is that Karzai is corrupt and presides over a morally decrepit and decadent regime that hangs around America’s neck like an albatross…
…If the report tabled by the United Nations secretary general that was tabled in the Security Council in New York in March is to be believed, even after eight years of engagement in Afghanistan, 80% of international community assistance still bypasses the Afghan government and is not closely aligned with Kabul’s priorities. Therefore, the corruption in Afghanistan needs to be viewed in perspective.
Karzai makes a serious point when he says that those who talk about corruption are obfuscating the real issues that aggravate the crisis of confidence between him and Washington. Now that Obama has plunged into the cesspool of AfPak diplomacy, he should perhaps get to the bottom of it and make it a point to try to understand why Karzai feels so alienated…"
2010-04-02 18:23:20 UTC