Carville to Advise Karzai Challenger

Says move shouldn't be seen as US looking for change in Afghan leadership
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2009 11:00 AM CDT
US National Security Advisor Jim Jones, center, meets Afghan presidential candidates, from right to left, Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, and Mirwais Yasini, June 23, 2009.   (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
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(Newser) – James Carville is headed to Kabul to advise one of Hamid Karzai’s challengers in Afghanistan’s upcoming election, Bloomberg reports. Carville has close ties to Hillary Clinton, but says the move shouldn’t be seen as a sign the Obama administration is pushing for a leadership change. “I don’t think anybody would veto me doing this,” he said. “I’ve worked in Israel when Bill Clinton was president. It’s what I do.”

A State Department spokesman said Carville was a “private citizen,” and didn’t need the department’s approval. Carville will be backing Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s current finance minister, against Hamid Karzai, who came to power thanks largely to US backing in 2001. Currently Ghani is polling at just 2%, in the third slot behind ex-foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, at 7%, and Karzai, at 31%.