Archive for Hamid Karzai – Page 2

U.S. Discovers Nearly $1 Trillion in Afghan Mineral Deposits


We're never leaving now, never:

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and Blackberries. [...]

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. [...]

Instead of bringing peace, the newfound mineral wealth could lead the Taliban to battle even more fiercely to regain control of the country.

The corruption that is already rampant in the Karzai government could also be amplified by the new wealth  [...]

At the same time, American officials fear resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, which could upset the United States, given its heavy investment in the region.  [...]

Another complication is that because Afghanistan has never had much heavy industry before, it has little or no history of environmental protection either.

This could turn into Operation Who Gets Their Hands on the Treasure First.

Is it me, or is there some major new story that pops about every other day? Stories that complicate the messes we're already in to the nth degree?

My question? What did we know, and when did we know it?


Complete Video- President Obama and President Karzai Press Availability



Video- Ex-UN Envoy Peter Galbraith Questions Karzai's Mental Stability, Attributes it to Drug Abuse


Pretty incendiary words. Vid via FDL.


VIDEO: Obama makes surprise trip to Afghanistan


By GottaLaff

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There is supposed to be live feed of the president soon. I'll try to post it when it comes in.

KABUL - Getting a firsthand look at the 8-year-old war he inherited and dramatically escalated, U.S. President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday, telling President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet that they must do more to rein in rampant corruption.

After a brief meeting with Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul, Obama praised recent steps in the military campaign against insurgents, but said Afghans needed to see conditions on the ground get better.

President Obama invited Karzai to visit him in May. Spring and summer is the time of the year during which violence increases, mainly because of improved weather conditions.

A White House official said Obama also wanted to get an "on the ground update" about the war from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. and NATO commander, as well as Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador.

The ever increasing number of casualties isn't the kind of news Americans want to hear. However, the support for the efforts in Afghanistan has increased rather dramatically:

The latest Associated Press-GfK poll at the beginning of March found that 57 percent of those surveyed approved his handling of the war in Afghanistan compared to 49 percent two months earlier.

Things are going "in the right direction", per officials, according to MSNBC just now, despite the fact that the praise of Karzai as a "partner" was, well, tepid. But images of Obama "walking the carpet" with him shows confidence in the relationship.


U.S. ambassador dissents on Afghan troop increase


By GottaLaff

UPDATE: Official: Obama rejects all Afghan war options

Dissent or tactic?

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the last week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise, said senior U.S. officials. [...]

The last-minute dissent by Eikenberry, who commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, has rankled his former colleagues in the Pentagon -- as well as Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, said defense officials. [...]

His position as a former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is likely to give added weight to his concerns. It will also likely fan growing doubts about U.S. prospects for Afghanistan among an increasingly pessimistic public.


Brother of Afghan Leader Is Said to Be on C.I.A. Payroll


By GottaLaff

Double take. Triple take:

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.

The financial ties and close working relationship between the intelligence agency and Mr. Karzai raise significant questions about America’s war strategy, which is currently under review at the White House.[...]

The C.I.A.’s practices also suggest that the United States is not doing everything in its power to stamp out the lucrative Afghan drug trade, a major source of revenue for the Taliban.

More broadly, some American officials argue that the reliance on Ahmed Wali Karzai, the most powerful figure in a large swath of southern Afghanistan where the Taliban insurgency is strongest, undermines the American push to develop an effective central government that can maintain law and order and eventually allow the United States to withdraw.

Go read the rest here. Wow. This puts an entirely new slant on things, doesn't it?