NEWS TO NOTE—Karzai discounts contribution of withdrawn U.N. staff

In a stunning statement made during the course of a News Hour Interview with Margaret Warner, Afghan president Hamid Karzai has suggested that the activities of the United Nations foreign staff in Afghanistan, who have just been withdrawn for security reasons, are of no value. The exchange follows:

MARGARET WARNER: …Now the U.N. did reluctantly withdraw about two-thirds of its foreign staff, at least temporarily, for safety sake. What impact is that likely to have?

HAMID KARZAI: No impact. No impact.

MARGARET WARNER: So you don’t care if they return?

HAMID KARZAI: They may or may not return. Afghanistan won’t notice it. We wish them well wherever they are.

–The News Hour, Margaret Warner Interview with Hamid Karzai, broadcast Nov. 9, 2009

[The full interview is available on the PBS NewHour website, at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/july-dec09/karzai2_11-09.html]

Comments and discussion are invited.

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"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by The Observer, an international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. He is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR), where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, The Observer has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. The Observer speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, The Observer has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on the best articles that have appeared in the blog.

1 Comment on "NEWS TO NOTE—Karzai discounts contribution of withdrawn U.N. staff"

  1. Maybe, the UN people are an iritant to Karzai and his gang. Karzai wants us to protect him, give him money, and help build infrastructure and then get the hell out—not necessarily in that order.

    Would the mideast explode if we pulled out of the whole region?

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