Hamid Karzai (born December 24, 1957) was the president of Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, and an ally of the United States. His administration was known for its corruption and incompetence,.see Afghanistan War
The scion of Popalzai Pashtuns, both his father and grandfather were prominent in the national government. His family fled to Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, when Soviet forces controlled Afghanistan. He helped the mujahideen fighting the Soviets, often traveling to the U.S. to gain funding from the Reagan Administration. He returned in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet puppet and became deputy foreign minister. He was at first friendly toward the Taliban, then turned against it. The Taliban assassinated his father in 1997, but he escaped and became the leader of the Popalzai clan of Pashtuns.
When American and Allied forces ousted the Taliban in 2001, Afghans chose him as leader. He was confirmed by the Loya Jirga, a traditional Afghan assembly, as president of a transitional government in June 2002. He was elected president in a fair election in 2004, but his reelection in 2009 was largely fraudulent. A runoff was called but his opponent dropped out and he remains in power.
Following the Taliban's repeated refusal to expel Osama bin Laden and his group and end its support for international terrorism, the U.S. and its partners in the anti-terrorist coalition began a military campaign on October 7, 2001, targeting terrorist facilities and various Taliban military and political assets within Afghanistan. On October 22, 2001, Biden gave a speech insisting that U.S. goals—rooting out al-Qaeda and helping establish a friendly successor government to the Taliban—would require U.S. ground troops far beyond the small number of Special Forces already in place. Under pressure from U.S. military and anti-Taliban forces, the Taliban disintegrated rapidly, and Kabul fell on November 13, 2001.
Three weeks after the 9/11 attacks, on October 3, 2001, Biden proposed a billion dollars in aid to a yet to be formed Afghan interim government. The amount was almost twice as much as U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan proposed and more than triple what the Bush administration asked for. Hamid Karzai formed an interim government on 22 December 2001 until elections could be held after the removal of Taliban rule by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) forces. On January 10, 2002 Biden arrived in Afghanistan on a four-day fact-finding visit and met with Karzai. In 2002 and 2003, when Afghan tribal councils gathered to write a new constitution, the U.S. government gave “nice packages” to delegates who supported Washington’s preferred stance. “The perception that was started in that period: If you were going to vote for a position that Washington favored, you’d be stupid to not get a package for doing it,” according to a U.S. official who served in Kabul at the time interviewed by the Washington Post.
In Aug. 2009, General Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, said the Karzai government was riddled with corruption and NATO was being undermined by tactics that alienate civilians. He called the Taliban insurgency "a muscular and sophisticated enemy" that uses modern propaganda and systematically reaches into Afghanistan's prisons to recruit members and even plan operations. McChrystal alerted Washington that he urgently needs more forces within the next year; without them, he warned, the eight-year conflict "will likely result in failure."
According to The New York Times, beginning in December 2002 throughout Karzai's terms of office, Karzai's presidential office was funded with "tens of millions of dollars" of black cash from the CIA in order to buy influence within the Afghan government. TheNYT stated that "the cash that does not appear to be subject to the oversight and restrictions." An unnamed American official was quoted by The New York Times as stating that "The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States."
- Sen. Biden: "I think the American public and the Islamic world is fully prepared for us to take as long as we need to take. If it is action that is a mano-a-mano. If it's us on the ground going against other forces on the ground. The part that I think flies in the face of, and plays into every stereotypical criticism of us, is where this high tech bully that thinks from the air we can do whatever you want to do. And it builds the case, for those who want to make the case against us, that all we're doing is indiscriminately bombing innocents. Which is not the truth. Some innocents are indiscriminately bombed. But that is not the truth. I think the American public is prepared for a long siege. I think the American public has prepared for American losses. I think the American public is prepared, and the president must continue to remind them to be prepared, for American body bags coming home. There is no way that you can, in fact, go after and root out al Qaeda and or Bin Ladin without folks on the ground, in caves, risking and losing their lives. And I believe that the tolerance for that in the Islamic world is significant, exponentially higher, than it is for us bombing." @59:43
- Sen. Biden: "U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan has issued an appeal for $584 million to meet the needs of the Afghan refugees and displaced people, within Afghanistan and in neighboring countries. This is the amount deemed necessary to stave off disaster for the winter, which will start in Afghanistan in just a few weeks. We must back up our rhetoric with action, with something big and bold and meaningful. We can offer to foot the entire bill for keeping the Afghan people safely fed, clothed, and sheltered this winter, and that should be the beginning....We can kick the effort off in a way that would silence our critics in the rest of the world: a check for $1 billion, and a promise for more to come as long as the rest of the world joins us. This initial amount would be more than enough to meet all the refugees’ short-term needs, and would be a credible downpayment for the long-term effort. Eventually the world community will have to pony up more billions, but there is no avoiding that now, not if we expect our words ever to carry any weight.
If anyone thinks this amount of money is too high, let me note one stark, simple and very sad statistic. The damage inflicted by the September 11 attack in economic terms alone was a minimum of several hundred billion dollars and a maximum of over $1 trillion. The cost in human life, of course, as the Presiding Officer knows, is far beyond any calculation. Pg. 18464
- Bob Woodward, "McChrystal: More Forces or 'Mission Failure Washington Post Sept 21, 2009
- Matthew Rosenberg. "With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan", 28 April 2013.