‘Afghans trusting Karzai was mistake’

Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s former foreign minister and 2009 presidential candidate

An Afghan opposition leader says it was a mistake to entrust President Hamid Karzai with the duty of securing the fate of people in Afghanistan.

Abdullah Abdullah, the former Afghan foreign minister and a 2009 presidential candidate, wrote in an article published on the website of Foreign Policy on Tuesday that the “initial mistake was to entrust President Karzai with the sacred duty of securing the fate of our embattled nation.”

He also stated that the current situation in Afghanistan is due to “a tragic combination of errors, some internal and some external.”

Abdullah criticized Karzai’s lack of trust in his countrymen, citing the president’s request from the CIA to “provide bodyguards to him to protect him not from al-Qaeda but from the Afghans who helped install him in power.”

His lack of faith therefore led to the “ill-conceived policy of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration, best described as Iraqi-style de-Baathification, but in practice targeted against those who had fought as US allies against the Taliban,” Abdullah said.

“It would be a tragic mistake for the international community to conclude that democracy doesn’t work in Afghanistan, while the only thing that doesn’t work is democracy as Karzai’s government understands it.”

Rather than supporting the institutions of democracy, the Afghan government has confused people by “being passive to corruption” and followed an “ambivalent policy” considering the country’s armed insurgency, Abdullah added.

The Afghan opposition leader said the country could experience a successful transition in 2014, despite rising challenges. The presidential election is scheduled to be held on April 5, 2014.

Karzai had been the chairman of Afghanistan’s transitional administration since 2001, until he won the 2004 presidential election.

Abdullah withdrew from the election runoff in 2009, accusing Karzai’s government of vote-rigging and fraud.