January 3, 2010 |
In an unexpected show of defiance, Afghan lawmakers Saturday rejected 17 of President Hamid Karzai's 24 nominees for Cabinet posts, including a powerful warlord. Afghanistan's political scene has been in a state of shambles for months, as the Obama administration prepares for one of the biggest and fastest troop buildups of the conflict, which is in its ninth year. About 30,000 more U.S. troops are to be deployed in Afghanistan this year, and senior commanders have said the buildup will be crucial in 2010 to halt the growing momentum of the Taliban-led insurgency.
January 17, 2010 |
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.
January 29, 2010 |
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 20, 2009 |
The Cabinet nominees announced by President Hamid Karzai on Saturday underscore the competing demands the Afghan leader confronts as he embarks on a troubled second term in office. Karzai, inaugurated last month after a fraud-tainted election, is trying to simultaneously placate restive Western backers, woo his disillusioned public and pacify powerful warlords who have helped keep him in power. The Cabinet list, leaked by presidential aides a day before being presented to lawmakers Saturday, retained some well-regarded ministers in posts considered crucial to rebuilding Afghanistan and fighting the Taliban.
March 29, 2010 |
President Obama flew to Afghanistan's capital Sunday evening and offered a tough message to President Hamid Karzai, urging that stronger action be taken to crack down on government corruption and to build respect for the rule of law. Later in his six-hour unannounced visit, his first to the war-battered country since becoming president, Obama received a rousing welcome from American troops at the sprawling Bagram air base outside Kabul. As midnight approached, camouflage-clad service members whooped and snapped pictures of the president, who dispensed hugs and handshakes before taking to the podium.
October 24, 2009 |
The senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan sought Friday to dispel suggestions that he had been sidelined during dramatic diplomacy in Afghanistan because of his stormy relationship with the Afghan president. Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke acknowledged that he had been in Washington, rather than Kabul, last weekend as Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and other senior U.S. officials pressured a reluctant Karzai to agree to a runoff election, which has been scheduled for Nov. 7. Holbrooke, in a State Department news conference, said he had remained in Washington to take part in deliberations on whether to overhaul the U.S. strategy and send thousands more troops to Afghanistan.