Karzai's star falling at home, abroad

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai, once regarded as a hero by the Bush administration, has fallen out of favor at home and abroad, analysts say.

At home, Karzai is facing a booming Taliban insurgency and the widespread perception he is to blame for the lack of economic progress and rampant corruption. Abroad, U.S. President Barack Obama says he regards Karzai as unreliable, The New York Times reported Sunday.


"Under President Karzai, we have gone from a better situation to a good situation to a not-so-bad situation to a bad situation -- and now are going to worse," said Abdullah (who has only name in the Afghan tradition), Karzai's former foreign minister who may now challenge him for the presidency. "That is the trend."

Karzai has taken to verbally attacking U.S. officials. Last week he accused unnamed Americans of trying to "pressure" him to stay silent over the deaths of Afghan civilians, the newspaper said.

Defending Karzai, U.S. Ambassador William Wood said, "The guy works very hard. He faces a problem set every day that would daunt anyone. He's got an insurgency based outside the country, and a level of poverty and criminality inside the country that feeds the insurgency."


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