Tuesday, May 25, 2010

McChrystal Strategy Shifts to Raids - and Wali Karzai

Analysis by Gareth Porter

"WASHINGTON, May 24, 2010 (IPS) - Gen. Stanley McChrystal's team once talked openly about the need to remove Ahmed Wali Karzai, Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother and the most powerful man in Kandahar, from power.
Last October, as reports of Wali Karzai's role in the opium trade were circulating, McChrystal's intelligence chief Gen. Michael T. Flynn said, "If we are going to conduct a population-centric strategy in Afghanistan, and we are perceived as backing thugs, then we are just undermining ourselves."

"The only way to clean up Chicago," Flynn declared, "is to get rid of Capone." The parallel between the legendary crime boss and Wali Karzai could hardly have been clearer.

But by the end of March, Dexter Filkins was reporting in the New York Times that U.S. officials had decided that Wali Karzai "will be allowed to stay in place".

That complete reversal on Karzai was the result of a decision by the U.S. military to deemphasise the much-touted promise of governance reform in the Kandahar operation and focus instead on Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids targeted against suspected Taliban leaders living in Kandahar City - operations for which McChrystal needs intelligence being provided by Karzai...."

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