Adviser calls Karzai a weak, foreign-influenced leader
KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a weak, foreign-influenced leader whose government would not last even a week if Western troops left the country, his senior security adviser told a local newspaper at the weekend.
The comments, in the Payame Mujahed weekly, are another sign of the political difficulties facing Karzai, under growing pressure to improve conditions in the country as a resurgent Taliban step up attacks on government and Western forces. “But it is a reality that Mr Karzai is both under pressure of foreigners and also the team or group they have inside Afghanistan,” Mohammad Qasim Fahim was quoted as saying. Some 50,000 foreign troops under NATO and US military command are stationed in Afghanistan.
A government spokesman did not make any immediate comment. The Washington-backed Karzai has been leading Afghanistan since US-led forces and local Afghan militias, including one under Fahim, removed the Taliban from power in 2001. Fahim served as defence minister and first deputy to Karzai until he was dumped in 2004 during the country’s first direct presidential elections, which Karzai won.
Karzai appointed him last year as his senior security adviser to help deal with a rise in Taliban attacks. But relations between the pair remained strained, and Fahim became a member of a newly formed party dedicated to cutting the president’s powers. Other members of the group, the National Front, are first vice-president Ahmad Zia Masood, several cabinet ministers and Mohammad Yunus Qanuni, head of the lower house of parliament.
Most front figures are former factional members and Fahim’s allies. In the interview, Fahim said government ties with the parliament were hostile and termed Karzai a weak leader. “The basic problem of Mr Karzai, with regard to government’s affairs, is lack of his management concerning the current situation of the country,” Fahim said. An ethnic Tajik, Fahim said he never had the chance to advise Karzai and that his advisory post was a symbolic one.
He said the interim and transitional administrations Karzai had headed after the Taliban’s ouster represented all tribes in Afghanistan. The current administration did not, he added. “Mr Karzai unfortunately... formed a one-sided government the result of which is the country’s current crisis,” the weekly quoted Fahim as saying.
“And (formed) a weak government and with no programme... If today the foreigners desert Afghanistan... then it will be seen for how many days the national army of Mr Karzai will resist?” “Nothing will remain stable even for a week,” Fahim said, warning the president would not overcome the difficulties unless he took on board “personalities of all the tribes”. reuters