Monday, June 7, 2010

Continuing Bad News from Afghanistan

First, a piece in the NYT that explains in greater detail something hinted about in the previous story: that the Afghan private contractors are either hitting the convoys or paying others to do so to create a need for their services. And, of course, some of these guys are President Karzai.  Lovely.
“People think the insurgency and the government are separate, and that is just not always the case,” another NATO official in Kabul said. “What we are finding is that they are often bound up together.”
“There are thousands of people that have been paid by both civilian and military organizations to escort their convoys, and they all pose a problem,” said Hanif Atmar, the Afghan interior minister. (Mr. Atmar resigned under pressure from President Karzai on Sunday.) “The Afghan people are not ready to accept the private companies’ providing public security.” 

Second, and, more importantly, President Karzai has fired his Minister of Interior (as mentioned above) and Intel chief.  The claim is that they failed to stop violence aimed at a recent peace conference.  The reality is that these guys may not be big fans of Karzai's reconciliation effort. 

This is bad news as the Minister of Interior did seem to be doing a better job of combating corruption and building the police force than his predecessors (and his successor?).  To be clear, we should be betting and investing on institutions, not individuals.  But when the President undermines the institutions because of the individuals running them, then he is doing the country and the outsiders no favors. 

The news out of Kabul is just getting increasingly depressing.  Not a great Monday.

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