The West and Karzai on Different Pages
Yesterday the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring Afghanistan's election “credible and legitimate,” downplaying widespread allegations and dissent over the level of fraud.
The move isn’t surprising even though UN envoy Kai Eide flatly admitted, “that there was widespread fraud.” America, Britain, and France, hoping to salvage the electoral process, wasted no time in congratulating Hamid Karzai’s victory and pressing for reform. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who fired former official Peter Galbraith for going public on a total recount, was swept up by the tide.
Despite telling reporters last month, “We must not repeat what they have done last time,” implying an unfair first round of voting, Ban cemented his position by pushing for Karzai’s re-election after Dr. Abdullah announced a boycott. He also took a few knocks for advising Abdullah to “let bygones be bygones."
For all that trouble, the international community probably expected more in return.
Karzai, in his latest attempt to confront and dispel accusations of corruption within his government, said in an interview with PBS, “What does that mean when you say corruption in highest government circles?... Unfortunately, that is more a slogan. It doesn't come to giving us the details.”
After detailing his own “administrative corruption” - under the table services, police shakedowns - he turned the tables on his Western backers. As a small-time thug is to organized crime, Karzai claimed large-scale corruption chases foreign currency more often than his officials.
“We also mean corruption of a different kind, which is a lot more serious, which is new to Afghanistan. That is with the arrival of a lot of money to Afghanistan, the lack of transparency in the award of contracts, the serious corruption in implementing projects... contractual mechanisms. It's the international community also that shares responsibility with us. And that's what I hope we can correct together.”Continued on the next page