Letter to the Editor / President Karzai and Afghanistan


By Roger C. Kostmayer

The United States rescued Afghanistan and President Hamid Karzai from the grip of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and protected them for more than 10 years at the cost of American lives and billions of dollars — much of which ended up in the pockets of Karzai and his relatives. Pres. Karzai quickly revealed himself to be corrupt, incompetent and emotionally unstable — a difficult trifecta. Karzai has now crossed the line and become an unacceptable liability, and the U.S. should drop the lame duck president like a hot potato.


In the fall of 2013 the U.S. and Karzai negotiated a long term security agreement, after which Karzai continued to make outrageous demands (e.g. release all Gitmo prisoners) and he publicly bragged the U.S. was bluffing and would never pull out in 2014 no matter what he demanded. After being warned that he must sign the security agreement soon to assure the U.S. would stay, Karzai announced he would wait until well into this year, when a new President is to be elected. Karzai is now threatening to release prisoners accused of killing American troops without any prosecutions, and even the Afghans seem stunned by his effronteries.


It’s time to end Karzai’s brinkmanship and make it clear that the U.S. won’t deal with him anymore. Unless responsible Afghans step forward after the elections, the U.S. should leave Afghanistan in 2014 and discontinue the billions in aid. The U.S. should announce the terms that are in our mutual security interests, including monitoring nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and what the new administration in Afghanistan must do for the U.S. to commit a small military force and financial support in the future.


The fact is that without U.S. support Afghanistan faces defeat, a civil war and Taliban resurgence; and without a bilateral agreement U.S. security interests would be weakened and our defense costs would rise. Both nations would benefit from being free of Karzai’s arrogance, paranoia and corruption.

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