Afghan president Hamid Karzai criticised for selecting former warlord as election running mate : "Senior diplomats and human rights workers lashed out at Hamid Karzai's decision today to select a powerful warlord accused by western officials of involvement in criminal gangs and arms smuggling as a running mate in Afghanistan's presidential election.
Karzai's decision to defy international pressure and appoint Mohammad Qasim Fahim as one of his two vice-presidential candidates for the 20 August poll showed the world and the Afghan people that the president was 'moving the country backwards', said a western diplomat in Kabul, who is close to the UN chief in the country, Kai Eide."
Well at least he is not accused of involvement in the drugs trade. Unlike Karzai's brother.
The presidential elections will happen on August 20th 2009, four months later than constitutionally required. The delay is due to the security situation (for which read the ever-increasing pressure from the opium-funded Taleban).
There are only a couple of other presidential candidates, and a strong anti-Karzai coalition has not yet been formed.
What the world needs is an Afghan president who is prepared to buy the opium from the poppy farmers and enable the WHO to pass it to places where it is needed to relieve terminal pain.
The US has pledged $40million for the elections, so for that kind of money you'd think they could buy a president who can see the logic of legitimising 40% of the Afghan economy.
Still, let us look on the bright side. The Right Honorable Lord Malloch-Brown Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office says in a personal communication that the UKs performance in Afghanistan "has been, and continues to be, impressive and successful".
That would be "success" as in "Gallipoli was a successful beach landing".