Karzai risks taking on a warlord

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    Abstract

    President Hamid Karzai's dismissal of the governor of Afghanistan's western province of Herat, Ismail Khan, is his boldest move yet against local power holders. It is part of a strategy to broaden his government's base and to boost his position as a strong leader prior to Afghanistan's first presidential election on Oct. 9. In this, Karzai has the full support of the United States, whose Afghan-born ambassador to Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad, has reportedly emerged as a key player in the conduct of Afghan politics. However, the timing of Ismail Khan's dismissal is highly questionable and could create new problems. Among local power holders, Khan, an ethnic Tajik, was notable for his resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and to the Taliban in the second half of the 1990s. Although he was defeated in 1995 and later captured by the Taliban, he managed to escape from captivity to join forces with the leader of the anti-Taliban coalition (the so-called Northern Alliance), the late Ahmed Shah Massoud. Khan led the liberation of Herat and its three neighboring provinces in the U.S.-led military campaign following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages1pp
    No.SEPT. 17, 2004
    Specialist publicationThe New York Times
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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