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Does a Return to Warlord Rule Await Post-NATO Afghanistan?

Though NATO-led efforts have focused on democracy, U.S. forces still rely on strongmen

Image: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai greets General Petraeus during the funeral ceremony for his younger brother Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul
Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai (left) greets General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan during the funeral ceremony for his assassinated younger brother Ahmad Wali Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul July 15, 2011. (Photo credit: Pool / Reuters)

By Tom A. Peter
Christian Science Monitor on
August 8, 2011

KANDAHAR CITY, AFGHANISTAN — In his sprawling office in Kandahar’s gubernatorial palace, Tooryali Wesa spends much of his day behind an imposing hand-carved wooden desk. … The room is a virtual shrine to governance and an apparent testament to the power of the political office.

But in Afghanistan, things are rarely what they seem.

For years, Kandaharis have made it no secret that, while they respect Mr. Wesa, his position is largely symbolic. To get things done, they turn to the region’s power brokers and warlords. …

The possibility that power brokers and warlords in Afghanistan might be what keeps the country from unraveling has had analysts concerned, but the recent assassination of Ahmad Wali Karzai, one of the most powerful strongmen in Afghanistan, and the ensuing struggle in Kandahar for power, has brought the issue into sharp focus as the US begins to draw down forces. …

Though much of the international effort here has focused on strengthening democratic institutions, foreign forces have often had to lean on strongmen. As a result, a new generation of warlords has risen to power, fueled by US money. …

Read the full article, “Will Afghanistan return to an era of warlord rule after NATO leaves?” at


8/27/2012 Update


Images of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan a ‘bold move’ (NBC Nightly News, Aug. 22, 2012) — NBC’s Richard Engel discusses the troop “surge” in Afghanistan – something touted as a success by the military, but questioned by many Afghans and also some in the U.S. who worry the troops will leave in 2014 with Afghanistan as a failed state. (01:41)


Related reports on this site

Image: Afghan tribal leaders and district officials
Afghan tribal leaders and district officials drink tea during a dialogue session with U.S. Lt. Col. William Clark, background right, at Camp Costell, in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009. Clark, commander of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, pledged economic and security assistance to the local leaders as part of the strategy to defeat the Taliban. (Photo credit: Romeo Gacad / AFP — Getty Images)

Taliban Attack City Handed Over to Afghan Security Forces (July 30, 2011)

Afghan President’s Brother Assassinated (July 13, 2011)

Endless U.S. War Price Tag Hits $4 Trillion (June 29, 2011)

‘Limited Chance of Success’ in Afghanistan (Dec. 15, 2010)

Breathtaking Afghan Corruption (Dec. 2, 2010)

Afghanistan War Cost Too High (Nov. 13, 2010)

Concerns Grow About Afghan War (July 17, 2010)

Afghanistan “Mission Failure” (Sept. 21, 2009)

Afghanistan in ‘Downward Spiral’ (Oct. 10, 2008)



One Year Ago — August 8, 2010

Afghanistan American Massacre

One year ago today, I reported that Taliban insurgents gunned down ten members of a Christian medical team — six Americans, two Afghans, one German, and a Briton — in Badakhshan province, Afghanistan.


Two Years Ago — August 8, 2009

Bachmann: The Empress of Exaggeration

Two years ago today, on August 8, 2009, I reported that the sheer weight and volume of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s assault on reason may have reached critical mass, crossing the tipping point beyond which Minnesota media could no longer tune out the insanity or avert their gaze from “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in embarrassed silence.


Three Years Ago — August 8, 2008

Campaign Against Michele Bachmann: Day 25

Three years ago today, on August 8, 2008 — the 25th day of my 2008 campaign against incumbent U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann for the Republican nomination in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District — I prepared for the August 9 kick-off of my walking tour from Freeport in the northwestern corner of the Sixth District to Stillwater, in the southeast on the Wisconsin border. I also posted a public service announcement to help draw attention to the sacrifice of National Guard citizen soldiers serving in Iraq and the families they leave behind.

2 Responses to “Will U.S. Leave Afghanistan a Failed State Ruled by Warlords?”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » U.S. Taxpayers Help Fund Killing of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan Says:

    […] Will U.S. Leave Afghanistan a Failed State Ruled by Warlords? (Aug. 8, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Afghan War ‘Not Worth Fighting’ Says:

    […] Will U.S. Leave Afghanistan Failed State Ruled by Warlords? (Aug. 8, 2011) […]

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