Karzai promoted democracy, unity: Dobbins
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made a major contribution to putting his country on the road to constitutionalism and democracy, a top US diplomat told lawmakers.
“I think he has done a remarkably good job of bringing together the various ethnic, sectarian, linguistic and religious groups and overcoming those kinds of obstacles,” US Special Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins said.
He had done it through a process of distributing patronage that had the side-effect of increasing corruption in a country with weak institutions, the envoy said, acknowledging the president had created constituencies in every single group.
During the Congressional hearing, Dobbins said Karzai seemed to be making a balanced and constructive effort to bring the electoral process to a conclusion in an acceptable manner. “We're not there yet; it's going to be a difficult several weeks, I think, until we get there. And I think his leadership is going to be continually important in that regard.”
In the last couple of years, US-Afghan relations had deteriorated seriously, he admitted, hoping the presidential candidates would devote significant effort to improving that relationship. “I believe there'll be responsiveness here … the relationship will significantly improve.”
Dobbins explained the US had been in regular contact with Karzai who had been playing a responsible role in trying to keep the candidates in the game. Our basic view was that the electoral institutions had to be supported, he said.
“They have to be given a chance to do their job, that there certainly was fraud. There were significant levels of fraud in the first round and almost certainly in the second round. There are mechanisms for challenging and dealing with this fraud, and these mechanisms have to be given a chance to work,” he argued.
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