Beset by a rising civilian death toll and widespread corruption charges Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who once boasted an enormous approval rating, is seen as an increasingly ineffective and unacceptable leader by the Afghan population. With the country earlier this month beginning its registration of voters for next year’s presidential election, Karzai’s hopes for a second term seem to be fading fast.
President Karzai has been under pressure from the US and other allies to do something about the growing problem of corruption in his government, forcing him to shuffle his cabinet earlier this month. The mounting allegations have even extended to his family, with his brother reportedly linked to the nation’s burgeoning heroin trade.
But at least as big a problem for Karzai is the growing number of Afghan civilians being killed in the country’s rising violence. A large portion of those civilians are being killed in air strikes by the US and other international forces.
Karzai has attempted to distance himself from the NATO strikes by publicly condemning the largest strikes, and has come out against the long term presence of international forces. Still, even as the international forces promise to change their tactics the incidents continue unabated, adding yet more questions to the president’s credibility.