All Alone, Karzai Twists in Political Wind

Allies are deserting Afghan leader after failed stalling tactic
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2011 11:34 AM CST
An Afghan lawmaker takes an oath on the Koran, Islam's holy book, during the opening of the new parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday Jan. 26, 2011.   (AP Photo/S. Sabwoon, pool)
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(Newser) – Afghanistan’s new parliament was finally sworn in yesterday, much to Hamid Karzai’s chagrin. The Afghan president’s failed bid to delay the new parliament’s arrival is the latest in a string of political miscues that have left Karzai in a precarious position, diplomats, analysts, and Afghan lawmakers tell the New York Times. Even Karzai’s typically loyal Pashtun allies in parliament turned against him this weekend, opposing his attempt to push back the inauguration.

Now, Karzai has angered both the losing candidates, who he encouraged to challenge the election results but then eventually abandoned, and the new lawmakers, who know he tried to annul their victories. And Karzai’s western allies are more convinced than ever that he’s an unstable liability—it was their intervention that forced Karzai to change course, a major departure from their normally deferential approach. “Nobody is left for President Karzai,” says one lawmaker. “Nobody is left supporting him.”

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