Obama administration looking for ways to isolate Karzai

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Washington, Apr 8(ANI): The Obama administration is reportedly exploring ways of isolating Afghan President Hamid Karzai, by channelling aid and military support directly to Afghan provinces, amid concerns about his "troubling" behaviour and performance.

According to U.S. officials, the continuing policy struggle in Washington on how to work with Karzai, who threatens Obama's entire Afghan strategy, is all the more problematic.

"Nobody in the administration had any illusions about Karzai. They've always recognised that he is not an ideal partner, but they really don't have a viable alternative. They are stuck with Karzai whether they like it or not," The Times quoted Bruce Riedel, a former adviser to Obama on Afghanistan, as saying.

The continuing strategy is to try to work increasingly through members of Karzai's Cabinet who are trusted in Washington, notably Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak and Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar.

There will also be increased efforts to work with provincial governors and local tribal elders, on the guidelines of Helmand province, where the governor is proving to be an innovative and active partner.

The concern in Washington follows an outburst last week in which Karzai accused the West of rigging last year's presidential election in Afghanistan, and suggesting that he might even join the Taleban.

In a speech on April 1, Karzai had accused Western media of spreading reports characterizing last year's presidential election as fraudulent "to pressure me."

Karzai's speech, coming just days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited him in Kabul, laid bare the deep mistrust between the leaders and their governments even as the United States has tripled its troop commitment since the start of 2009 to fight the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. (ANI)

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