CNN: The other big issue in Afghanistan is [U.S. Gen. Stanley] McChrystal's request for more U.S. troops there. How does President Karzai feel about the prospect of increased military forces in his country?
Zakaria: He was the astute politician and was cagey in his response. He was very supportive of increased troops for providing increased security within the country but simultaneously aware they should not appear as though they are occupying the country. "The arrival of forces must enhance the sense of protection of the Afghan people,and must give protection to the Afghan people. It must not be a capture and kill pursuit of the Taliban; it must be one that provides protection to the country and must also lead to the enhancement of the abilities of the Afghan military and security forces. Therefore they have to come as liberators as they did in 2002 and not otherwise."
CNN: What struck you most about the interview you had with President Karzai?
Zakaria: That he knows that the heart of the trouble facing Afghanistan is the disenfranchisement of the Pashtun population. They are 50 percent of the country's population and make up 100 percent of the insurgency. This is not to say all Pashtuns are participating in the insurgency, but the members of the insurgency come from this ethnic group. A military strategy against them is not sufficient. A political situation is needed. Whether President Karzai will be able to solve it remains an issue. However, since he knows this is the key issue, I hope he will focus his energies on finding a political strategy to engage the Pashtun population. It is the root to success in the country. Read the rest at CNN
Sunday, October 25, 2009
What Karzai Wants
Not that it matters. Hamid Karzai is the reason the taliban is taking over in Afghanistan and he's part of the reason that Obama has to rethink strategy there. Apparently, Karzai's government is beyond corrupt. But I think there's a lot of saving face going on. Fareed Zakaria asked Karzai what he thought about more troops: