Obama certainly isn’t trustworthy, but Karzai is engaging in a bit of the projection we so often see from Islamic supremacists, as he is the one not to be trusted. But he knows his regime will outlast the American presence in Afghanistan only by a matter of minutes, and he is trying to hedge his bets. “Karzai tells Afghan loya jirga that US not to be trusted,” by Dan Murphy for the Christian Science Monitor, November 21:
After more than a year of negotiations on extending the US military presence in Afghanistan, a draft agreement was reached between the government of President Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration yesterday. The US gets immunity from Afghan prosecution for its troops. Afghanistan gets an open-ended commitment from the US to train, equip, and fund its security services.
The draft was hailed by Secretary of State John Kerry, and it was left with one last hurdle to full acceptance: the approval of an Afghan loya jirga – a meeting of tribal notables from across the country – that convened in Kabul this morning. Or so it seemed.
Not for the first time, the mercurial President Karzai threw a spanner in the works. Karzai, who rose to power with US military and financial support but has taken to attacking US involvement in Afghan affairs, told the conference that the US is not to be trusted. He also indicated that regardless of the loya jirga’s decision, approving the agreement will be up to his successor, who will be chosen in a presidential election scheduled for next April.
That is almost certainly generating a collective, incredulous scream from the White House, State Department, and Pentagon. The US position has been that an agreement needed to be nailed down a year before authorization for troops in Afghanistan expires at the end of 2014, to allow for planning and budgeting.
The US was already disappointed when Karzai announced months ago that he wouldn’t sign off on an agreement without the approval of both a loya jirga and the vote of the Afghan parliament. The working assumption was that those two bodies would approve, once the financial and military stakes were made clear to them. But now the question of extension is sure to be a major issue on the upcoming presidential campaign trail.
“I want this agreement to be signed after the presidential elections,” Karzai told the assembly this morning. “If you agree to sign this agreement with the Americans, we will ask for some time.”
Karzai also spoke of the lack of trust between him and the US and complained of how the US has spread negative stories about him “behind my back.”