The Mud is Thickening

As tensions, costs and casualties continue to rise in Afghanistan, the United States is left wondering exactly how much leverage and influence the Obama administration continues to exert on Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

On Monday, Nov. 2, The New York Times reported that President Obama reiterated calls for Karzai to take control of his country and crack down on administrative corruption in the Afghan government.

President Hamid Karzai
President Hamid Karzai. Photo by Remy Steinegger // Flickr.coovernment.

Specifically, Obama called for an anti-corruption commission in the war-ravaged country to analyze various departments and oust those administrative officials who are caught in unethical dealings.

Requests have been made by the international community for the arrest of Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is believed to be aiding Afghanistan’s flourishing opium trade.

And this all begs a question: has the United States actually lost the political pull needed to get something like this done?

The signs are concerning.

The Taliban has been fueled by a revitalization of the illegal drug trade in Afghanistan. Should the current trend continue, whereby American blood is spilled to satisfy the wishes of drugs addicts and warlords, no additional amount of soldiers will be able to save the nation from lawlessness and anarchy.

And what would eight years of merciless American bloodshed have been for?

The New York Times has not only reported that President Obama’s advisors have expressed concerns over Mr. Karzai’s ability to ameliorate the ills of corruption in his country. Obama himself has questioned Karzai’s resolve to change his government’s invalidity and seeming illegitimacy.

Karzai’s survival, at this point in the conflict, is directly dependent on the presence of trained U.S. troops in his country. If we leave; the threat of assassination and civil unrest will grow exponentially.

And though critics doubt that President Obama will threaten to withdraw all troops unless American demands are met, this is an option that undoubtedly needs to be considered – and pursued should there continue to be an insulting lack of commitment from President Karzai.

If the Afghans are not serious about purging their government of impaling corruption, the United States must be adamant in pulling troops out of the country and dropping complete support for their cause. It sends a strong message to the Karzai administration that America is not a nation with which to childishly play and ignore.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown seems to be handling the issue of Afghan corruption diligently. According to the Times, he is ready to send British men and women back home if Afghanistan’s corruption trend continues.

And we are left to ponder: where is the backbone in our leadership?