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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid