Karzai`s Formula for Afghanistan`s Future: Gambling
|Subject||Karzai`s Formula for Afghanistan`s Future: Gambling|
Karzai knows the Americans and NATO will eventually leave; if it’s a year or two, or five or ten, Americans and NATO won’t stay in large numbers in Afghanistan forever. But the Taliban will. So who does Karziai make a deal with, the United States and NATO or the Taliban?
If Karzai signs up with the Americans and NATO, he’s committing Afghanistan to a long-term war against the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies. If instead, however, he tries to reintegrate the Taliban, he must choose a different course. He would try to look strong and appear to be kicking the Americans and NATO out, or at least making demands they can’t accept.
There are indications this is what Karzai is inclined to do; the preconditions Karzai is setting are the Taliban’s terms. Karzai seems to be putting his chips behind a deal with the Taliban, betting an accord with them can bring more peace to Afghanistan than a deal with the U.S. military and NATO.
But his gamble is even bigger than that. He appears to be betting that his government and security forces are strong enough to survive without U.S. and NATO help, and that the Taliban is willing to compromise. If he’s wrong the consequences are enormous. If he’s right, US and NATO troops will be coming home.