15 December 2004

Afghanistan is a chaotic mess ruled by warlords, drug kingpins, and the Taliban, which is alive and well

What's happening in that other place in the world we invaded a few years ago? It seems Americans are spending a great deal of money on a state head that resembles more of a mayor, a very expensive mayor.
Warlords, who control 80% of the nation, were bribed with tens of millions to give at least tacit support to Karzai. Afghanistan's majority, the Pushtun, were represented only by a few minor candidates without any political base. The most important Pushtun leader, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, declared a "terrorist" in 2002 for opposing the U.S. invasion, was, of course, excluded.

Afghanistan's new "democratic" president is the world's most expensive mayor. Karzai rules only downtown Kabul, protected by 200 U.S. bodyguards, 17,000 U.S. troops and a token NATO force that includes Canadians. It costs Washington $1.6 billion US monthly to keep Karzai in power. Without the foreign troops' bayonets, Karzai's little puppet regime would quickly be swept away.

The real power behind figurehead Karzai is the Northern Alliance, the rump of the old Afghan Communist Party, made up of Tajiks and Uzbeks.