US corruption doomed Afghanistan – ex-president
Hamid Karzai, the only Afghan president since the 2001 US-led invasion, has admitted his culpability in the corruption that has plagued the country for the past two decades – but argued an external power played a much greater role than he did himself. Speaking to the Washington Post on Monday, he blamed the US for his country’s fate.
Karzai took “full responsibility for the corruption and bribes in the delivery of services,” he told the outlet. “But the big contracts, big corruption, in hundreds of millions of dollars or millions of dollars, was clearly a United States of America thing.”
“The war in Afghanistan was not our war,” Karzai explained, clarifying his position between the US-backed “democracy” he ran and the Taliban government, which has allowed him to continue living in Kabul. Despite owing his power to Washington, he has controversially referred to the Taliban as “brothers” and denounced the 21-year war ostensibly fought against them.
“I was not a partner of the United States in that war against Afghan villages and homes. I changed from the moment I recognized that this war that is fought in the name of defeating terrorism is actually a war against the Afghan people,” the former leader said.
Karzai also blamed his most recent successor for the Taliban’s return to power in the wake of the Biden administration’s hasty departure from the country in September 2021. “The state would not have collapsed” had President Ashraf Ghani not fled, he argued. “Ghani leaving was the collapse of the whole thing.”
However, he said, it is the US who is primarily to blame for what happened to Afghanistan. Despite Washington's promises, two decades of war not only failed to end terrorism, it gave birth to new terror groups such as ISIS-K.
Karzai spent 13 years running US-occupied Afghanistan. By the time he left his post in 2014, his government had become synonymous with corruption, nepotism, and the looting of both state assets and US ‘nation-building’ projects. Afghanistan had been named one of the top three most corrupt countries in the world by Transparency International.
However, the Washington Post claims his reputation has improved – from that of “an American puppet” to an advocate for “a more equitable Afghanistan.”