Hamid Karzai is fighting for his political life. He has often been written off as "the mayor of Kabul", but he does not intend to go quietly just because the Pentagon has increasingly seen him as an obstacle to its plans for a "surge" or increase in US troop strength by 20,000 or 30,000 to try to turn the corner in the Afghan war.
Karzai's weaknesses are well known. He did not have his own party and is dependent on the US. His younger brother is believed to be one of the leading figures in the drug business. In the early years of his presidency, the US cultivated the Afghan warlords as allies, ignoring the fact that popular hostility to the warlords had been one of the causes of the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s. No doubt Karzai has been ineffectual, but would anybody else do any better?
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