Word continues to dribble out regarding the Obama Administration’s Af/Pak plan–some of it not quite accurate, I suspect. This report from the Guardian seems slightly off, for example. It is true that the US and allies are not too pleased with the way Hamid Karzai is running the country, especially the distribution of economic and humanitarian development funds to the provinces. (The US is also dismayed by the truly dismal and overly bureaucratic performance of the UN in Afghanistan.) But there is no provision for a prime minister in the Afghan Constitution, and I’d be surprised if a Loya Jirga–Afghan for Big Ol’ Meeting–were called to start the process to amend the constitution.
My hunch is that Richard Holbrooke, who is quoted in the Guardian piece, has been working with Karzai to create some sort of Development Czar–perhaps a technocrat like former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani–who will supervise the foreign aid funds flowing into Afghanistan. Karzai rejected Paddy Ashdowne as UN administrator a few years ago, but accepted the inept Kai Eide. My guess is that this is an effort to get someone indigenous, and stronger than Eide, to run this crucial part of the development plan. If so, it’s a terrific idea.