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The Nancy Pelosi Of Kandahar

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of Kandahar's provincial council
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of Kandahar's provincial council
In an interview with the "Financial Times," Afghan President Hamid Karzai's younger half-brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, clamed that he is the "Nancy Pelosi of Kandahar."

Karzai said this because he heads the provincial council in Kandahar. But unlike the U.S. House of Representatives, the council has seldom engaged in any serious legislation. In fact, the two bodies, and their leaders, are as different as Kandahar and Washington.

If the younger Karzai wants to follow in the footsteps of Pelosi, a 70-year-old grandmother of seven whose political career spans more than three decades, then he must first shed his image of a brash mafia boss.

Perhaps the most visible step Wali Karzai needs to take is to take his hands off the provincial administration so that the Canadian-Afghan governor, Tooryalai Wesa, can actually deliver.

This would help his half-brother enormously and do much to change the overwhelming public perception in Kandahar, where Afghans blames him for all that is going wrong in that vital region.

-- Abubakar Siddique

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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