New PDF release: A Kingdom of Their Own

By Joshua Partlow

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The president’s father, Abdul Ahad Karzai, a former parliament member and leader of the Popalzais, was buried here, as was his grandfather, another tribal khan, Khair Mohammad. That morning, men from the village had used picks and shovels to pierce its marble floor and dig the grave where Ahmed Wali lay in the dirt under a white sheet. The crowd surged around the open grave. Shouting and jostling, mourners pushed toward it six and seven men deep. Among them were many Popalzais who lived in the area and surrounding villages.

Diplomats and soldiers amounted to little but distrust and traded insults. On his next trip to Kandahar, Hamid Karzai, with tears in his eyes, would tell villagers that Americans were “demons,” adding, “Let’s pray for God to rescue us” from them. S. ambassador Karl Eikenberry. ” Carney had spent his diplomatic career navigating far-off conflicts and despotic regimes: in Saigon during the Tet offensive, Phnom Penh during the Khmer Rouge era, Port-au-Prince during the American invasion, two tours in Iraq.

Jawad began to notice real political consequences beyond hurt feelings. Lower-ranking diplomats on both sides had a harder time communicating informally, fewer chances to have coffee the day before a meeting and talk about what was coming up. “If you take away that operating level of the working relationship, every meeting turns into a surprise,” Jawad said. “For Holbrooke, it was an issue of centralizing authority and making people go through him. ’ ” Karl Eikenberry’s views on Karzai were more nuanced than Holbrooke’s, but the Afghan leader was no less an obsession for him.

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A Kingdom of Their Own by Joshua Partlow


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