A Kingdom of Their Own by Joshua Partlow

By Joshua Partlow

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S. ” It was a forty-one-way race among old and young, men and women, warlords and technocrats, those who lived in lavish fortress-castles and a guy who was working out of a roadside tent. There were clerics, widows, and an erstwhile Taliban commander with the nom de guerre Mullah Rocketi, for his prowess with missiles. S. military. A retired Air Force colonel campaigned on a bicycle. The official American policy vis-à-vis the election, as outlined in cable after cable, was to be impartial. But none of the Afghans believed it, and the American diplomats weren’t helping themselves make the point.

Within three weeks of moving into the Oval Office, Obama had ordered seventeen thousand more troops to Afghanistan, and less than a year later he would up that by another thirty-three thousand. S. embassy, in a collection of mustard-colored concrete office buildings and white metal trailers, would bring in hundreds of staffers, becoming the country’s largest diplomatic mission, with a budget exceeding $4 billion per year, or more than four times Afghanistan’s domestic revenue. S. ” With the stakes in the war growing so rapidly, Carney wasn’t the only one worried about the consequences of a fraudulent election.

Look,” he told a group of diplomats and soldiers in Kandahar one day, “I served here in 2002, and I remember standing in front of a group of soldiers and occasionally civilians and saying, ‘Okay. Our job here is to get another first down. We’re not going to win this on our watch. ’ And I realized, you know, where’s the goal line? ” As Eikenberry puzzled over Afghanistan, more often than not Hamid Karzai was the central riddle. The Karzai he first met was giddy, ebullient, naïvely idealistic. When he heard an idea, he liked it.

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