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March 14, 2010 | By Jeffrey Fleishman
Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed Saturday to allow foreign observers to sit on an election commission, reversing a decree that sidestepped international oversight and drew U.S. criticism that he was jeopardizing his government's credibility. Karzai's decision followed weeks of pressure from the international community to improve the legitimacy of elections. The president's reelection in August was widely regarded as fraudulent, and his recent decision to do away with foreign monitors further agitated the United Nations.
April 9, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The United States is irked that Iran has chosen as its representative to the United Nations a diplomat who apparently was involved with a student group that seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The embassy takeover, a violation of international law that led to the 444-day captivity of 52 American hostages, contributed to hostility between the two countries that only recently has begun to abate. But the Obama administration is making a mistake in publicly labeling as "not viable" the posting to the U.N. of Hamid Aboutalebi, an experienced diplomat aligned with Iran's reformist President Hassan Rouhani.
December 19, 2009 | By Laura King
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is poised to unveil a new Cabinet that retains a number of respected ministers with the West's stamp of approval but also at least one notorious former warlord, aides disclosed Friday. Karzai's ministerial lineup, which could be announced as soon as today, is being closely watched by the United States and its Western allies as an indicator of whether he is serious about cracking down, as promised, on rampant corruption in his government. Corruption is many Afghans' chief grievance against their leaders, pervading nearly all aspects of daily life.
February 9, 2014 | By Sarah Chayes
If anyone is surprised that with each passing day Afghan President Hamid Karzai seems to veer more sharply away from the U.S. and toward the Taliban, it might be time to remember some history. Karzai himself was once asked to become a high-ranking member of the Taliban government. His every word and deed of late seems designed to appeal to the Taliban leadership and its backers in Pakistan, and to fracture the partnership between Afghanistan and the American people. In one recent display, he held a news conference for Afghan villagers who claimed U.S. bombing had killed a dozen neighbors on Jan. 15. They identified mourners in a photograph purportedly taken at a funeral the next day, Jan. 16. But it turned out the photo was from four years back.
January 17, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez
The Afghan parliament Saturday once again rejected the majority of President Hamid Karzai's choices for his Cabinet, a rebuke likely to unnerve an international community that desperately wants the Afghan leader to forge ahead with reform plans. The rejection of 10 of the 17 nominees means that Karzai will have to go back to parliament a third time to gain approval for his Cabinet choices, and raises questions about his political strength. After he presented his initial slate of 24 nominees Jan. 2, lawmakers rejected 17 of them.
February 21, 2010 | By Laura King
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday made an emotional appeal for coalition troops to strive to prevent civilian deaths as a major offensive in the south by U.S., British and Afghan troops entered its second week. The president's remarks, in a speech to Afghan lawmakers, came as Western military officials announced that troops involved in the fighting for the Taliban stronghold of Marja had shot and killed an Afghan man a day earlier, mistakenly believing he was menacing a patrol with a makeshift bomb.
January 10, 2010 | By Laura King
President Hamid Karzai snubbed two prominent warlord figures in a new Cabinet lineup unveiled Saturday but unexpectedly offered a ministerial spot to the leader of a party linked to a Pakistan-based insurgent commander. The list of 16 Cabinet nominees also includes three women, one of them a prominent activist chosen as minister of women's affairs. Karzai had been sharply criticized when his previous lineup had only one woman. The Afghan parliament on Jan. 2 rejected 17 of the 23 prospective ministers that Karzai initially put forth, including former militia commander Ismail Khan and three nominees associated with another former commander, Rashid Dostum.
January 18, 2010 | By Alex Rodriguez
The Afghan parliament's decision Sunday to recess for several weeks made it unlikely that President Hamid Karzai would be able to meet Washington's goal to have a complete government in place ahead of a crucial international aid conference in London at the end of the month. More than 60 countries will send delegations to that conference, where nations are expected to pledge billions of dollars in economic and security aid to bolster the government of the Afghan leader, now in his second five-year term.
December 3, 2009 | By Laura King
President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday pledged to "spare no effort" to help implement the revamped American war strategy, the latest test for an Afghan leader struggling to shake off the effects of a fraud-tainted election and counter widespread disillusionment among his own people. But Karzai did not directly respond to the latest U.S. demands that he root out corruption in his government. The Taliban, meanwhile, scoffed at the notion that the American troop increase announced Tuesday by President Obama, coupled with an intensive effort to train and build up the Afghan army and police, would pose a serious challenge to the insurgency.
January 29, 2010 | By Paul Richter
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told world leaders Thursday that he intends to reach out to the top echelons of the Taliban within a few weeks, accelerating a peace initiative that has troubled U.S. and many other Western leaders. Karzai told officials of nearly 70 countries and of international aid groups at a gathering in London that he is seeking the mediation of Saudi Arabia and the blessing of Pakistan to try to negotiate peace with the leaders of the militant movement that was driven from power a little more than eight years ago. The initiative is delicate for the Obama administration, which wants peace in Afghanistan but is sensitive to concerns about making peace with an opponent that has killed well over 1,000 Western troops and been blamed for aiding in the 9/11 attacks.
December 19, 2013 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - President Obama is prepared to extend a Dec. 31 deadline in a concession to Afghan President Hamid Karzai aimed at getting him to approve a security agreement that would permit U.S. forces to stay in Afghanistan past 2014, aides say. The White House has warned for months that all U.S. forces will be withdrawn unless a deal is reached, and top advisors to Obama are increasingly comfortable with that prospect. At least two senior officials say the so-called zero option is strategically viable and politically acceptable, although it still isn't the preferred outcome.
December 3, 2013 | By Sarah Chayes
He's done it again. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has startled and dismayed the world. After an arduous diplomatic process to define the terms of a future international presence in Afghanistan, he balked at the last second, like a white-eyed horse in front of a jump. Karzai was on board when the language of the Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement with U.S. negotiators was finalized on Nov. 19. Less than a week later, a gathering of Afghan elders, officials and community leaders (known as a loya jirga )
November 26, 2013 | By David S. Cloud and David Zucchino
WASHINGTON - U.S. officials seeking to close a deal by year's end on the future of American troops in Afghanistan are exploring ways to bypass the country's mercurial president, Hamid Karzai, who negotiated the agreement but now refuses to sign it. Frustrated by Karzai's abrupt declaration that he won't ink the deal before Afghan elections in April, the Obama administration has begun pushing for Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani or another top...
November 24, 2013 | By David Zucchino
KABUL, Afghanistan - In a face-to-face rebuke to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a grand council of Afghan dignitaries voted Sunday to recommend approval of a proposed 10-year security accord with the United States by the end of the year, agreeing to an American-imposed deadline. The white-bearded chairman of the advisory council, or loya jirga , told Karzai that he miscalculated by threatening a signing delay until spring. Chairman Sibghatullah Mojaddedi lectured Karzai, warning that if he delays signing, "I'll resign and leave the country.
November 21, 2013 | By David Zucchino
KABUL, Afghanistan - He expressed outrage, sarcasm and black humor. He cast himself as a lonely voice defending his country's pride and sovereignty against American arrogance. After a frantic week of last-minute negotiations, Afghan President Hamid Karzai delivered a tepid endorsement Thursday of a proposed 10-year security pact with the United States in a rambling speech to an Afghan tribal gathering. But he then surprised attendees - and the world - by saying Afghanistan might not sign the accord until next spring.
June 20, 2013 | By Hashmat Baktash and Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Even as Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week canceled security negotiations with the Obama administration and suspended his involvement in the U.S. attempt to revive peace talks with the Taliban, the insurgents made some political moves as fleet-footed as some of their guerrilla tactics, analysts said. This comes as Afghanistan's neighbors rethink how their interests would be affected by a political reconciliation involving the Taliban, as much of a long shot as that seems.
December 29, 2012 | Los Angeles Times
Two friends and I just returned from an amazing 14-day tour of Morocco. It was a pleasure to leave details to knowledgeable, in-country experts and brothers Hamid and Youssef of Morocco Expert Tours. Although the value of a wonderful adventure is immeasurable, I saw a similar itinerary this month for group travel at several thousand dollars more than the $2,400 we paid for our trip. Morocco Expert Tours also does day trips and custom itineraries. Morocco Expert Tours; Fusako Takeda Fountain Valley
February 14, 2010
During a visit to the Tehran military courthouse one day last fall, Hossein and Hamid spotted the doctor. Memories from their five days at Kahrizak prison came flooding back. Prisoners seeking help were handed a few aspirin and told to go away. When they asked for bandages, the doctor struck some lightly with a club. One inmate had been beaten so badly on his feet that his toes were swollen and infected and he couldn't walk properly. He arranged for an appointment with the doctor, who told him, "Get lost before I beat you up," according to Hossein, who said he didn't even bother asking for help for his own injuries.
June 19, 2013 | By Hashmat Baktash, Mark Magnier and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan's president abruptly canceled ongoing security negotiations with the U.S., with his office charging Wednesday that the Obama administration had said one thing and done another while arranging peace talks with the insurgent Taliban movement. President Obama quickly rejected the criticism, saying, "We had anticipated that at the outset there were going to be some areas of friction, to put it mildly, in getting this thing off the ground. " President Hamid Karzai's reputation in Washington as a mercurial U.S. ally was further reinforced by his administration's decision, which came a day before U.S. officials were scheduled to begin direct negotiations with the Taliban.
April 26, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
If there ever was a time to see "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," that time is here and now. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, with even President Obama asking, "Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and our country resort to such violence?" comes a smart, provocative film that compellingly addresses these kinds of concerns. Directed by Mira Nair from Mohsin Hamid's exceptional novel (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize), "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" does not offer answers but rather, of equal if not greater value, it presents different ways to frame the question.
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