Karzai to continue playing important role in Afghan politics post elections: Report
Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to remain a key political player in Afghanistan, despite not contesting for the presidential poll.
If Karzai continues to play an important role in Afghanistan's politics it could possible complicate the U.S. relationship with his successor.
According to the Washington Times, the 56-year-old, who has served as president since December 2001, was barred by the Afghan Constitution from running for a third consecutive term.
Although the election results are uncertain, it is clear that Karzai will wield considerable influence in Afghan politics even out of office, which would complicate relations with the United States.
A former high-ranking U.S. military officer said if Karzai has influence over his successor, it would complicate relations with Washington.
Karzai's relationship with Washington has undergone a number of changes from the days he was firmly backed by the West.
Ties turned hostile after Karzai publicly criticized NATO's role in Afghanistan, complained about U.S. drone strikes on suspected terrorists and released dozens of prisoners who the Obama administration said have U.S. and Afghan blood on their hands.
Analysts however doubt that a new president can bring that fresh start. Because Karzai will continue to play a significant behind-the-scenes role, Sarah Chayes, a senior associate in the South Asia and Democracy and Rule of Law programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said.
Karzai is not barred from running for president in 2019.
Meanwhile, his proximity to power will be literal. He will reside in a secure compound a stone's throw away from the presidential palace in Kabul, the report added.
(Posted on 07-04-2014)