May 12th, 2010
02:45 PM ET

U.S.-Karzai: A rocky relationship

Relations between Afghan leader Hamid Karzai and the United States have had their ups and downs since last summer’s elections in Afghanistan. Here are a few of them:

• In October 2009, charges of fraud in the election caused the U.S. to criticize Karzai and push him for a recount and better leadership.

Karzai is criticized for failing to deliver on campaign promises and that he tried to hijack the election complaints commission.

• Sen. John Kerry travels to Afghanistan in October 2009 to press for a recount as he urges the Obama administration to hold off on a troop increase until the election deadlock is settled. (More: Kerry on the election crisis | Karzai challenger quits)

• U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to Afghanistan for Karzai’s inaugural address in November. In his speech, Karzai promises to tackle corruption. (More: Clinton pleased with Karzai's promises)

• In March 2010, Obama travels to Kabul to meet with U.S. troops and has short, tense meeting with Karzai with the normal news conference.

• Karzai, just days after meeting with Obama in Afghanistan, castigates the international community for meddling in national elections, saying foreigners – not his supporters – are responsible for widespread fraud. He later calls Hillary Clinton as the United States seeks clarification on his comments.

• In April, Karzai angers U.S. officials when he says that plans for a joint operation to drive the Taliban from Afghanistan’s second largest city, Kandahar, and surrounding provinces will proceed only with the support of the population. “We run this country,” he says. (More: Gibbs says White House 'frustrated' by Karzai remarks)

• On April 6, the U.S. threatens to cancel Karzai's visit; then U.S., Afghanistan deny an Obama-Karzai rift

Filed under: Karzai • Obama • White House
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Maxwell ifeanyi linus

    I want job and visa to u.s.a

    May 21, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff

    I see a lot of fourth-grade level foreign policy analysis here. From the Tea Party on the Right to the Peace-at-any price Left this country is going to the lunatic fringe. What we need are some hard-headed decisions on Afganistan, rather than this childish banter–much of it taking shots at traditional Afghan dress and the price of hats. For some of you morons out there, you should know this is not only a US venture but a NATO military operation–albeit a limited one. The Vietnam War had little if any NATO support. Ditto for Iraq. (do you even know what NATO is–many Americans have no clue). We enjoy considerable international support for this war. So this is not an Obama or Bush War–, its an international effort to keep the Taliban out of power–in Afghanistan and nuclear Pakistan. It's costing a lot of money, lives are being lost, and we may have to make some pretty hard decisions before next year. But the cost of walking away is enormous. Think about it. Or do you even have a clue as to what the consequences will be? Go ahead and reply and I won't waste my time debating fools.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Fardeem

    It's a huge mistake to invest on somebody like President Karzai even if the mission is beyond the boundaries of terrorism.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. sanjer

    please think and find better than him
    are you so smarter than white house experts , why us goverment spend lots of money
    how encourage us to fight with taliban , i thing US just think for him self not for afghan people
    us government do his own business he wants to find a good place in the asia and SU will never find
    better place than afghanistan

    May 18, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Not to be a party pooper but do you know how many U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan? 1,000. Do you know how many active personals we have? 1.5 million. Do you know how many reserves we have? 1.5 million. By the way, do we want to compare the amount of deaths from U.S. soldier to civilians?

    May 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. vkmo

    Leave Karzai alone for a couple of years. It's the most dangerous top job in the whole world. We are lucky to be living in the USA where we don't have to face war, and other problems like Karzai faces.

    May 18, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ukowo

    To my dynamic presido and friend... Mr Obama; It takes a friend who love you and can prescience the future to look you in the eyes and tell you the truth when seemingly in dillema,... A time-table for a pull out in Afganistan? PLEASE don't do it. It means a total surrender: Bob Marley says{He who fights and run away left to fight another day} please do something before had I know.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ukowo

    The analysis shows that 2010 is a woefully year for foriegn troops in Afganistan... this is deplorable. How I wish I have direct mail or link to president Mr Obama to suggest my intrigues for the winning of this diplomatic endless war!, b/c every filthy mistake from the leadership is equal to disaster to the followers. Error made in a second can take days to set it aright. (

    May 18, 2010 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. afghan

    Hello, I was reading all these comments and all of them looked so stupid to me, umm lets think deep about this war why US is intrested to this war i know you and all others dont want to waste your money and scarifice your youg soldires here, but if US doenst have any advantage they wont let this happen, i mean put your self in Obama's shoes and tell me if you dont get something out of afghanistan would you risk all this, I believe NO.
    so there is somthing that US wants from this country, be whatever it i.

    and i guess its very rude to say some bad things about some one's way of dressings.

    May 16, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jack A. Barton

    It is the same damn story we had when we fought the most costly war in History; you know, that small illiterate country known as Korea. Most of the comments are directed at the way Karzai is dressing, yet, little mention is being paid to the many American lives that have already been, and will continue to be lost with no resolution in sight!

    If you fight a war, you should fight to win, not to placate one of the most corrupt leaders in the Second most corrupt nation of the world. Congratulations, USA, you managed to do it again!!!

    May 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. justan opinion

    Have we not learned from previous failed empires, e.g. Mongolian, Persian, Roman, British. Spread yourself too thin in the world and someone will sneak in and take you. Pull the troops out. Those countries in the Middle East have been fighting for thousands of years. We're not going to be able to change that. Protect our country, in our country.

    May 15, 2010 at 5:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. dogboy

    Walter, does he ever take his coat and stupid hat off, you ask? He is obviously following the dress code of his country. Otherwise why would he dress like an organ grinder's monkey? Given him and cup and I'll drop a quarter in it.

    May 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dogboy

    Gopherit, the US does NOT want the world to be a carbon copy of the US. We like dictatorships when it's to our advantage and we like democracies when it's to our advantage. We certainly do not want the world to consume resources as we do.

    In short, we want the world to do be and to do what's good for the US whether or not that is good for them.

    May 14, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gopherit

    It would appear that Karzai has to deal with reality in Afghanistan for better or worse, while the U.S. is caught up in its own version of power politics which assumes that the entire world has to be a carbon copy of the U.S. politically and economically.

    May 14, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Akbar

    This is the best job, Dear( Semper Fi, Greg)- finaly you have to leave Afghanistan With trained friends, and join your nice families at home.
    take care

    May 14, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  16. Walter

    I can not believe our government falls for his lies.

    May 14, 2010 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  17. Walter

    Does he ever take the coat and stupid hat off?

    May 14, 2010 at 4:17 am | Report abuse |
  18. rrock

    I have an idea. Lets bomb the crap out of them, invade them, force a corrupt government on them, and spend a trillion dollars of borrowed money and thousands of lives trying to subjugate the country. Oh wait, we already did that.

    May 13, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Bob

    ell your comment about their lives being cheap is stupid. I think we should just throw you into Afghanistan then your life will be the cheap one. In fact, i don't think 1 bullet costs that much.

    May 13, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  20. ell

    Send home the troops and help the poor Americans. Stop spending the taxpayers dollars to save another country. Their life is cheap . Let them kill each other and don't sacrifice our American troops life in a never ending war. A waste of money and a waste of life.

    May 13, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  21. davec

    Wel now, Karzai's outfit looks like the one Capuchin monkey's often wear while in captivity.

    And Iraq Paramedic, do I hear you correctly? Are you advocating death for President Obama?

    May 13, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  22. Iraq Paramedic

    Let's all say a prayer for Kharzi & Obama, it is Psalm 109:8- Let his days be few; & let another take his place. AMEN.
    May GOD bless & keep us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  23. Voice of Reason

    Bob, if you are comparing the vote/no vote in the US with what is going on in Afghanistan, I feel that you need to check out my finds at

    It will give you a really good insight into what Afghans are thinking and what our soldiers are going through.

    May 13, 2010 at 2:32 am | Report abuse |
  24. Bob

    I believe you. However the majority of people living in america do not vote. You can't just say that Obama, or Bush weren't presidents because the majority of people living in the U.S. didn't vote for them.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • parker

      But for the antiquated Electoral College, we all know that even with the minority of US citizens voting, Bush became president. Only in the USA does the number 2 vote getter win the number 1 slot. Go figure. If we lived in a democracy instead of a republic, w would not have been president and there would not be the crap going on Afghanistan and there would not have been the power grabbing money hoarding foray into Iraq . . . but you are smart and know this already!

      May 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Voice of Reason

    neither is this Afghan – not in the true since. Not according to most Afghans I have had the pleasure of asking that question, and believe me I have asked hundreds, and thousands...

    May 12, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Bob

    I think that uniform may be to show that he is a leader,=. That being said, most Afghans aren't the president of their country.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Voice of Reason

    Bob, I have a news flash: most Afghans can't afford an outfit like that! His hat alone cost more than $2000 and his green coat cost anywhere from 3 to 8K, depending on which one he is wearing. I should know; i tried to get the outfit for a Halloween party once...

    Unfortunately, you are not alone in thinking that Afghans dress like that. Thanks to Karzai, most rest of the World thinks that Afghans dress funny, and are corrupt. When those are just Karzai's qualities.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • naz

      first off your wrong because the hat is about 45 dollars i know im from afghanistan and the green coat that is called a chappun and that is about 100 to 150 dollars... so really your facts are wrong.... please get them right.....

      May 17, 2010 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • naz

      the hat costs roughly 45 dollars and the green coat is about 100 dollars.... its really not that expensive i have 3 pairs and 3 hats got it all under 400 dollars....

      May 17, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  28. John Rigney

    I'm sorry to say that USA has lost this war, in the same way and for much the same reason as the Vietnam war. When the president of Afghanistan, your choice of president, talks about turning against you, it signals the end of your campaign. Get out while you can, otherwise this thing will end with your humiliation or mass murder of the people of that unfortunate nation.

    It speaks volumes that despite the USA's wealth and power your nation is not held in esteem or envy by anyone but those desparate to escape their own societies because they don't fit in for whatever reason, or because their societies have broken down, often because of interference from other nations. A cursory review of the past two centuries is all that is necessary to confirm what is so obvious.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Muhammad Ali Farooq

    "U.S.-Karzai: A rocky relationship"' Read this headline untile you know and tell what is wrong. if you can not comeup with the answre. I will be glad to answer you.

    May 12, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Bob

    Yo voice of reason, i understand what your saying. But you have to realize, his outfit is the way his country dresses up. Its like wearing a suit and tie, except its not.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • parker

      This is funny . . . men talking abut the way people dress. But nobody can fault Karzai's attire without first making a comment about Madeline Albright's get-up when she was Sec of State. . . . visualize Yoda wearing a miniskirt!

      May 17, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Bob

    Yo smith, Obama already said he would start pulling them out then.

    May 12, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Smith in Oregon

    There is simply far to much percieved corruption in the Karzai CLAN and in President Karzai himself for any majority of Afghan's to openly accept President Karzai and their shake and bake Government and Police forced upon them by the gun barrels of the US Military.

    If the Afghan people themselves do not support nor feel that President Karzai's direction for Afghanistan is better than under the rule of the Taliban, the war in Afghanistan is going to fail in securing any lasting objectives.

    If America's US Military is going to continue to support the Karzai CLAN despite the perception of wide-spread corruption, American's should strongly demand pulling US Troops out of Afghanistan on July 2011 period.

    May 12, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Voice of Reason

    Although Karzai's outfit really does annoy me too, and I would rather he was wearing almost anything else, I am more concerned about how he is hurting our mission in Afghanistan. At this point, he is a liability to our foreign policy in that region. He has lost all credibility in his own country. He does not have the support of his people, not even a percentage of it, so he doesn't represent his people. This is why when he told our Commander in Chief right after he was "selected" as the President in 2001 that US soldiers were welcomed in Afghanistan, we should have made sure that he was speaking for the majority of Afghans.

    The remote areas of Afghanistan, where our soldiers are trying to "win hearts and minds" of locals, Karzai has no credibility and no body takes him seriously, and therefore our soldiers are accused of being invaders and not asked by a legitimate government to be in Afghanistan.

    In order to be successful at this point in Afghanistan, US needs to distance itself from Karzai and his gang of thugs and relatives. We need to show that when people cry about the corruption in Karzai's government, we are taking those accusations seriously and we will do something about it if we are saying we are there to help Afghans.

    Sorry, I should stop here. I am really upset by the way we are giving our tax money to Karzai and sending our young and unprepared soldiers to his country while he is just storing the money away for when everything falls all around him and he runs off from Afghanistan.

    May 12, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • parker

      Some good points here. Russia failed in this country, and it seems to me this is another Vietnam. I am not sure anyone really knows a GOOD reason to be there. It certainly isn't to "fight terrorism" as that comes from everywhere on the planet, including our own people in the USA. Bush bankrupted the US with his games in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama should just call 'a loss' a loss and get out. There is nothing there for us. Even "stablilizing" the government there will not stop terrorism here.

      May 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hakim

      I believe as long as Karzai is in power, the US tax payers' money will be wasted in Afghanistan. Within last 8 years he didn't do anything for his country, corruption is getting worse and worse, he lost his credibility long ago among afghan people. The first step to a better and realistic solution which will benefit US and Afghans is removing him and all his corrupted ministers and relatives from power. It should be a pre-condition to any other solution if there is any.

      May 18, 2010 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  34. organ_grinder

    To President Karzai: Drop the organ grinder monkey outfit and put on a suit and tie when you visit the US.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  35. m5

    why do we continue to spend more and more in the hole of afghan? president karzai's brother is the number one power in the heroin trade for afghanistan. that's a story that doesn't get any coverage. and the cia's involvement in the entire history of drug trade development in afghanistan back when they were trying to battle russia's invasion. afghanistan bankrupted russia, it's going to do the same thing to the usa.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Onesmallvoice

    Here's more of that bla-bla-bla about the cooperation between Karzai and the West.After all,Hamid Karzai hardly has a choice in the matter,If he didn't,the C.I.A. would organize a "popular uprising" against him and replace him with someone who will collaborate and do whatever the right-wing thugs in Washington tell him to do.

    May 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Col Gregory T. Breazile, USMC

    We are geting job done here in Afghanistan! At the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan we are helping build the Afghan Army and Police forces. Follow us on our unit social media site and give us your comments –good, bad or ugly!

    Semper Fi,

    May 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gatekeeper's

      IN REFERENCE TO POSTER: Col Gregory T. Breazile, USMC ---who posted (quoted):
      "We are geting job done here in Afghanistan! At the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan we are helping build the Afghan Army and Police forces. Follow us on our unit social media site and give us your comments –good, bad or ugly!"

      We are glad you can train but we very disappointed that your orders are for training armies. We are also very disappointed the U.S. seems to be constantly at war.

      When there are so many going hungry, so many going homeless, so many jobless, so many greedy, so many reckless, among the other national issues that face your country, we believe in this case, if you can't solve those issues, you
      won't solve Afghanistan's.

      May 18, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |