U.S. officials seeking Afghan 'CEO'

Aug. 11, 2009 at 7:31 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. officials are exploring the idea of establishing a chief executive slot below Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, an Afghan source says.

Citing an unnamed Afghan official familiar with the negotiations, The Washington Post reported Tuesday speculation is centering on former finance minister Ashraf Ghani as a possible national CEO under Karzai, who is expected to win a second term as president in Aug. 20 national elections.

Ghani is running against Karzai in the election. But dissatisfaction with Karzai's leadership is prompting U.S. officials to seek a technocratic CEO to solve chronic problems of corruption and inefficiency that are fueling the Taliban insurgency, the newspaper said.

An unnamed aide to Ghani told the Post both U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and regional envoy Richard Holbrooke have recently visited him to explore the idea. The newspaper said Ghani holds a doctorate from Columbia University and formerly worked for the World Bank, gaining a reputation as a competent technocrat.

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