News / Asia

    What Will Karzai's Legacy Be In Afghanistan?

    What Will Karzai's Legacy Be In Afghanistan?i
    X
    April 03, 2014 2:26 AM
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has led his country for more than 12 years, will step down from office after this week's polls to select a new leader. The 56-year-old Mr. Karzai is constitutionally barred from contesting in any future elections, and his transition from office following Saturday's election is seen by many as a testament to his enduring legacy. Amanda Scott has more from Washington.
    What Will Karzai's Legacy Be In Afghanistan?
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has led his country for more than 12 years, will step down from office after this week's polls to select a new leader, in a vote seen by many as a testament to his enduring legacy.
     
    Afghanistan's April 5 election will be a historic moment in the country's history. It will mark the first democratic transition of power since the fall of the Taliban.
     
    "This will be the first time in history of Afghanistan that a president will be replaced democratically and through the will of the people, and he will be the one who will allow that to happen, and I think that's a great honor by itself," said Afghan presidential candidate Hedayat Arsala, who served as a senior minister under Karzai.
     
    The election was made possible by a constitution that Karzai helped draft, and which prohibits him from running for a third five-year term.
     
    "Hamid Karzai will leave behind a very positive legacy in the sense that he will be the father of a democratic, well, relatively democratic nation," said Graeme Smith, an analyst with the International Crisis Group. "He will also be the first leader to hand over power to a successor in a peaceful way, and that will be the first peaceful transition of power in Afghanistan since 1901."
     
    Over the years, Karzai has been criticized for his failure to fight corruption and stem the Taliban insurgency, but he also is seen as a leader who could bring unity to the country's many ethnic groups and factions.
     
    "He has not put people in jail because they disagreed with him," said former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. "Freedom of expression has been respected."
     
    "In my judgment, he inherited a very difficult situation," said Khalilzad, "and Afghanistan has come a long way during his period."
     
    "But there have been weaknesses," he said. "Rule of law remains relatively weak, and security institutions are not as strong as they should be, although they have made enormous progress every day in the way they respond."
     
    In parts of Afghanistan, schools are reopening, there have been more opportunities for women, and government institutions are strongly functioning. But in other areas, corruption remains rampant, and ineffective governance and widespread poverty foster support for the Taliban.
     
    In his final year in office, Karzai has increasingly distanced himself from the U.S. administration that helped bring him to power, refusing to sign a bilateral service agreement he negotiated that would establish the remaining U.S. force after 2014.
     
    Karzai has said he will leave the decision up to his successor.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora