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Karzai losing popularity in Afghanistan

A media report showed that mounting Taliban insurgency has led the Afghans go against President Hamid Karzai.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 12:48 IST

With southern Afghanistan racked by mounting Taliban insurgency and economic progress "slow and spotty", the Afghans seem to be turning against once popular leader Hamid Karzai, a media report said.

In its upcoming issue, Newsweek said that the urbane, dapper Karzai has always come off well in the international spotlight.

But he "looked decidedly" uncomfortable last week as he addressed his own nation following a riot in Kabul on May 29 triggered by a traffic accident between a US military convoy and civilian vehicles.

"The rioting was more anti-Karzai than anti-American," the report quotes Afghan expert Ahmed Rashid as saying.

"There's real anger against the president for the lack of reconstruction, for a lack of good governance and for his inability to control corruption and drug trafficking."

Part of the problem is that expectations were so high. To most Afghans and his international supporters alike, Karzai once seemed the ideal man for the job.

But Newsweek says that now many Afghans decry his "cautious" governing style, blame his timidity for allowing corruption to flourish once again in Kabul and for doing little to stop the nationwide drug trade.

"It's quite clear President Karzai wants to govern as the ruler of all Afghans and not displease anyone - but he has," Francese Vendrell, the EU's special representative to Afghanistan told Newsweek.

"He has not been able to act firmly. Many provincial governors are incompetent and corrupt, and many police chiefs are linked to the drug trade and criminal groups," he said.

First Published: Jun 05, 2006 08:35 IST