According to the BBC:
Gordon Brown has told Afghan President Hamid Karzai he will not put UK
troops "in harm's way for a government that does not stand up against
There was considerable disquiet in the UK and elsewhere at the time of the Afghan elections that British and other troops are being sent to fight in the country - with significant casualties - to enable an election the result of which is doubted by just about everyone in the country and around the world. Put simply they say, why should British troops be dying to support a corrupt regime which rigs elections?
A year or so ago, it was seriously mooted that Paddy Ashdown would be asked to take over as the UN's chief representative in Afghanistan. He had performed a similar role in Bosnia and had made it his first task to root out corruption and establish the rule of law. Paddy's take on this is that the rule of law is a precursor to democracy. As he said at the time - what's the point in having elections if the system is corrupt. There's no point voting if you know that the election will be rigged and whoever gets in will be out to line their pockets in any case. Never was this thought more ably proved than in the case of the Afghan elections.
Paddy had the support of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, of the US Government and of our own Government. And he was willing, albeit reluctantly, to serve. So why wasn't he appointed to the role? Because President Karzai objected. The feeling was that Karzai knew that Paddy's first mission would be to stem the corrupt practices - just as he had in Bosnia. Perhaps Karzai feared that his own interests - and certainly those of his cronies - would be harmed by Ashdown.
If Brown and the International Community are really serious about tackling corruption in Afghanistan, isn't it time they re-started the movement to get Paddy Ashdown in charge in Afghanistan?