US increasingly getting frustrated with Afghan President: NYT

Washington, June 8 : US officials are growing increasingly frustrated with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, arguing that he is not up to addressing Afghanistan’s many troubles, the New York Times has reported.

The newspaper said on Saturday that even a senior State Department official questioned in an interview whether Karzai had the “trust and the backbone” for the job.

“Of course he’s a good guy, and therefore as long as he’s president we’ll support him,” the NYT quoted the unnamed official, as saying.

“But there’s a lot of talk inside the administration saying perhaps there’s a need for some tough love to push him to do the right thing.”

One European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “We’ve got the standard administration problem of fascination with a flawed figure.”

According to the paper, the diplomat likened the US support for Karzai to Washington’s backing for President Pervez Musharraf.

US officials expressed particular frustration over the Afghan president’s refusal to arrest drug lords who are running the country's opium trade, which many international observers believe the Taliban have used to fuel their comeback, The NYT said.

At both the State Department and the Pentagon, some officials are saying that President Bush should use the financial leverage of US aid to Afghanistan to demand that Karzai do more to crack down on corruption, according to the report.

Others questioned whether the White House would endorse a tougher line against Karzai when there are no obvious pro-American alternatives to him among Afghan leaders, the paper noted.

Asked to comment about Karzai, a White House spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, told the paper, “President Bush appreciates the work that he’s doing in Afghanistan, but we all know that there is more to be done.” (ANI)