The new Bob Woodward book Obama’s Wars is sparking no small number of smaller stories in pre-release leaks, but one of the more unusual tidbits is a claim by Woodward that US intelligence reports claim Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been diagnosed as having manic depression, more commonly called Bipolar Disorder in the US.
It went on to speculate that Karzai has been receiving not-entirely-successful treatment for the problem, and that this is the source of the occasionally strained ties between Karzai and the US government. US envoy Karl Eikenberry is quoted directly as speculating that Karzai is “on his meds” then “off his meds.”
Which leads to the question of whether this is an honest assessment of Karzai from US officials or just another in the growing series of claims adding to doubts about Karzai’s position in the Afghan government.
During the most recent row, in April, President Karzai angrily threatened to join the Taliban during a speech made to members of parliament. This led to weeks to back and forth accusations, culminating with former US Ambassador Peter Galbraith implying that Karzai was an opium addict.
That fight calmed down after a time, but whenever the worsening war becomes an issue in the US questions about Karzai’s rule become a top issue. It seems this will provide yet more ammo for those in the Obama Administration looking to replace him.