There had been little doubt that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was falling increasingly out of favor with the occupation forces in the nation. But the dueling complaints: Karzai’s complaints against NATO’s killings of civilians and the international forces’ complaints about Karzai’s weakness and his government’s corruption seems to have reached a boiling point, and Karzai may soon find himself on the outside looking in.
Diplomats are now saying that Western officials are plotting to significantly alter the Afghan government – the president would be reduced to a mere figurehead, while the real power would be held by an appointed chief of staff. Several ministers are already being eyed as potential candidates for this position.
Karzai’s spokesman officially called the proposal nonsense, while US envoy Richard Holbrooke denied that the Obama Administration, long reported to be favoring Karzai’s ouster, had taken any such position. Yet with President Obama on the cusp of declaring a new “comprehensive strategy,” it seems unlikely that this revelation has taken them completely by surprise.