Newly anointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made his first official trip to Afghanistan where he got a full dose of America’s most unworthy partner, Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
US combat forces are scheduled to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The Karzai government and US leaders are currently in negotiations over what part the American military may continue to play after the combat forces have left.
The Taliban have ratcheted up their attacks in recent weeks. A suicide bomber killed nine and injured fourteen in an attack just outside the Afghan Defense Ministry while a similar attack occurred at a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province.
President Karzai believes that the US is colluding with the Taliban to orchestrate these attacks in order to frighten the Afghan people into believing that international forces will still be needed after the combat mission ends in 2014. Karzai made this point during a nationally televised address timed not so coincidentally to occur during Hagel’s visit. The insult to Hagel and the American military was clear:
“The explosions in Kabul and Khost yesterday showed that they (Taliban) are at the service of America and at the service of this phrase: 2014. They are trying to frighten us into thinking that if the foreigners are not in Afghanistan, we would be facing these sorts of incidents.”
Karzai is well known for his incendiary comments. His willingness to pull the tail of both his enemies and his protectors borders on the psychotic. He maintains an overinflated view of his power and his position. He is little more than a feckless bureaucrat who reigns over a government awash in corruption. He will hook his wagon to anyone who will enable him to retain his power; and he will turn on them in an instant. He seems to forget that if not for the US government and the American military he would be a dead man.
This is our partner in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The Afghan War…the country’s longest war…the war America forgot…has taken over 2,000 of our lives and wounded over 18,000 of our countrymen.
For what purpose!
The Americans will leave Afghanistan in 2014. The country will still be stuck in the fourth century…the Taliban as strong as they ever were.
Hamid Karzai, America’s most unworthy partner, will soon learn the value of that partnership.
Let us hope we learn from this as well.