Pamela Constable, an Afghan Voice favorite, has a new article in the Washington Post today that contends that Karzai is busy trying to broker a backroom deal with the Northern Alliance to preserve his own position and to make sure they--the Northern Alliance warlords--don't create any mayhem. That's old news however; these talks have happened sporadically over the past two years. The most worrisome news is buried deep inside the story.
Some Pashtun leaders, however, are said to regard Karzai's outreach to ethnic rivals as a further betrayal of their interests after more than two years in which Northern Alliance figures have held many key posts in the transitional government. Sources said two senior Pashtuns in the Karzai administration, including Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani, are seriously considering challenging him or backing alternative candidates.The unnamed Pashtun tribal leader is right. Karzai may be working hard on a bipartisan ticket, but he's forgetting the people in his own backyard--the Pashtuns. Without them, he's nothing.
Even some Pashtun figures who said they would support Karzai's candidacy expressed disappointment in his leadership, saying he has been unwilling to stand up to regional bosses despite enjoying strong international support -- and is now snubbing his tribal constituents while courting perennial adversaries.
"People were lukewarm before, but now that has turned to bitterness," said a Pashtun tribal leader. "Without the Pashtun vote, Karzai is nothing. We are his natural allies and supporters, but he is ignoring us. It is a huge mistake for him to make deals with people like Rabbani unless he has fortified himself and made sure we are there guarding his back."