Running against Karzai

Challenger in Afghan election offers a viable alternative to sitting president. But would he deliver?

President Hamid Karzai is often characterized as about as good a man to lead Afghanistan as can be expected. Burdened by old loyalties and a power network riddled by corruption, he knows what Western countries want to hear. He just seems unable to deliver it. Now, there is a viable alternative in the country’ election race: Abdullah Abdullah, an eye surgeon and former diplomat with a long history of freedom fighting in Afghanistan. Campaigning
on a package of reforms that would include reorganizing of government at the provincial level and breaking the national government’s reliance on support from warlords, Abdullah has offered hope that Afghanistan can move to a new chapter in its history, focused on unity rather than factionalism. It might be hopelessly idealistic. But it is a vision that Karzai—with little to show for his five years in power—can no longer offer with a straight face.

The New York Times

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