Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Partners in Crime

The US presence in Afghanistan feels like an uncomfortable fit on so many levels. Our CIA financial support and alliance with one of the apparent drug lords, who just happens to be the brother of President Karzai, is but one more head shaking example.

We struggle to deal with aligning ourselves with the best of a bad lot. We want to put our considerable weight behind a government that is credible to both the Afghan people and to the world that is watching. But we have had to twist the arm of the President to have a 'do-over' election which was mandated by an earlier vote marked by rampant fraud.

Now we learn of the CIA's willingness to look the other way while the President's brother allows the drug trade to flourish, to his considerable benefit, and to the detriment of those trying to eradicate this trade. The Taliban, we are told, rely heavily on the money generated by the sale of drugs, to sustain themselves. For President Karzai to be our partner in trying to rid the area of Taliban, and yet to have a brother who is sleeping with the enemy, makes our support for this government even more suspect.

Handing over money to Karzai's brother and looking the other way at his actions is like having to pay a bad guy to be an informant. We hold our nose and close our eyes. That has been part of our strategy through the years, as we have paid local warlords to abandon their allegiance to the Taliban. But is this what we are left with at the highest levels in Afghanistan?

We are in a critical moment in this country. We have decided, for better or for worse, that this area has become the new epicenter of our focus. We are in desperate need of a credible local partner. This latest story to come out of the region can only add to the feeling that we are hitching our horses to a broken down wagon.

1 comment:

Robert said...

so true. a quagmire!!!!!