Three years since he left office, the presence of former president Hamid Karzai still lingers in the corridors of Afghan politics. The fact that he continues to live on the same street as the presidential palace also ensures that he remains keenly involved in matters of a nation at war.
It is at this humble but traditional home in Kabul that Karzai extends the courtesy of his hospitality to scores of Afghan leaders, ministers, tribal elders and international diplomats, on a daily basis. He meets with hundreds of local and international stakeholders, making peace and relationships that can influence the turn of regional events in Afghanistan’s favor, a country that he helped put back together with the help of US allies after the fall of the extremist Taliban regime in 2001.
However, today, Karzai is among the few prominent Afghan voices against the occupying US forces. He has strongly condemned the new Afghan strategy put forth by US President Donald Trump in late August. “The neighborhood is no longer an ally of the US in their war against terror,” he told us on a warm September afternoon at his residence in the capital.
Karzai is confident that not only Afghans but also regional stakeholders support his crusade against the “American agenda” in Afghanistan, which he describes as an attempt to create disharmony among nations in the region, such as India, Pakistan, Iran and China.
“If they genuinely want to fight extremism and terrorism, they cannot do it by creating rivalry here in this region. They cannot take one ally and create rivalries — that’s adding to the conflicts in Afghanistan,” he said, referring to Trump’s statement calling out Pakistan for harboring insurgents, while encouraging India to play a bigger role in Afghanistan.
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