Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Karzai’s legacy may surprise us

< 1 min

Dawn/Washington Post, 6 April 2014

In an article looking at the legacy of President Hamed Karzai, AAN's Martine van Bijlert requests some more balance:

“In the beginning, Karzai was viewed through rose-tinted glasses,” said Martine van Bijlert, co-director of the Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network. “Now, there’s a very negative view of him, particularly in the West — and that’s partly unfair. He’s being blamed for things that are not just his fault — like corruption and not dealing with strongmen. In that, he and the international community and international military have a shared responsibility.”

But if the honeymoon between Karzai and the West was starting to sour in the second-half of the 2000s, it was the Afghan president’s 2009 re-election bid that drove the couple to Splitsville.

“The 2009 election was seen by Karzai as an intentional humiliation of him by the West,” van Bijlert said. “In the end, the way he interpreted it was that the US wanted to weaken him. He took it very personally.”

… Van Bijlert offers two possible explanations [for Karzai not signing the BSA]: “First, it is clear to him that the US really wants the BSA and, in his view, if the US really wants it, it can’t be good for Afghanistan. Second, he wanted to use the BSA negotiations to force the US not to interfere with the [2014] election.”



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