Rajiv Chandrasekaran of WaPo gets the scoop. His sources say that at a high level meeting in October, Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Karl Eickenberry pressed President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to reconsider his decision to toss private security firms out of his country. Karzai exploded, called the US one of three enemies faced by Afghanistan, and added, “If I had to choose sides today, I’d choose the Taliban…” before storming out of the room.
Karzai has repeatedly threatened to join the Taliban, and did so last April to visiting US Congressmen (who were quite astonished at the performance).
Karzai’s unreliability is especially deadly if the US is to fight a counter-insurgency campaign, since it requires a stable, well-liked and dependable local partner to succeed.
The Afghan ministry of the Interior admitted Monday that 8 southern districts in the Pashtun region of the country were not controlled by the central government, and said that he was not sure who did control them.
Meanwhile, the country’s constitutional crisis continued to unfold. 100 newly elected parliamentarians called on Karzai to inaugurate parliament on Dec. 18. The petitioners includied an outsized contingent of Hazara Shiites (some of whom now are now the only representation some Pashtuns have).