Karzai could be ousted with US nod: report

January 23rd, 2009 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaLondon, Jan 23 (IANS) Four political rivals of Hamid Karzai have gathered in Washington in a move that could end with the Afghan president’s ouster, according to a report Friday.Three former ministers and a serving governor - who are “believed to be challenging Karzai” - are in Washington for talks this week with the new administration headed by President Barack Obama, the Independent reported.

They are ex-foreign minister Dr Abdullah Abdullah, ex-finance minister Dr Ashraf Ghani, ex-interior minister Ali Ahmad Jalali and the governor of Nangahar province, Gul Agha Sherzai.

Obama met Sherzai before seeing Karzai during a visit to Afghanistan in July.

“Barack Obama’s arrival in the White House and the wind of change sweeping through Washington could lead to the ousting from power of Hamid Karzai,” the newspaper said.

“There is now talk of a ‘dream ticket’ that would see the main challengers run together to unite the country’s various ethnic groups and wrest control away from Mr Karzai.”

The paper quoted a senior US analyst in the Afghan capital Kabul as saying: “The Americans aren’t going to determine the outcome of the election, but they could suggest to people they put their differences aside and form a dream ticket.”

The Obama administration “are not going to blindly back President Karzai like the Bush administration did for so long,” said John Dempsey, head of the United States Institute of Peace in Kabul.

The paper said Pentagon and State Department officials have been planning for new Afghan policies for months and quoted an unnamed official as saying: “We have to come up with fresh innovative ideas on counter-insurgency, counter-narcotics, governance, development. Now they are drafting in people from other departments.

“There is no doubt we neglected Afghanistan after the Taliban fell but there is a worry that we may be trying to do too much, too fast now.”

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