FORMER AUSTRALIAN FM SAYS AFGHAN PRESIDENT KARZAI "ENORMOUS DISAPPOINTMENT"
- Australia's longest-serving foreign minister on Wednesday, April 18 declared that Hamid Karzai had been an "enormous disappointment" as Afghan president, describing him as weak and misleading, AFP reports.
Alexander Downer, who was foreign minister when Canberra committed troops to the decade-long conflict in Afghanistan, said Western powers had "solidly backed" Karzai's ascension but he had let them down.
"I am sorry to say that President Karzai has been an enormous disappointment," Downer, who was in the post from 1996 to 2007, told The Australian newspaper.
"As it turns out, he is a weak leader and he is also an exclusive leader -- he doesn't include enough people and enough tribes in what is essentially a very tribal sort of society. I honestly don't think he has helped the situation."
The scathing remarks come just one day after Australia announced that it was bringing most of its troops home from Afghanistan in 2013, a year ahead of schedule.
Australia, a key coalition ally of the United States, has some 1,550 soldiers stationed in the strife-torn country. Thirty-two have died in the conflict.
Downer said Karzai was "urbane (and) impressive" but always "tells everybody what they want to hear", leading to the impression that "the president is on the same page as me, but the fact is he's not".
- 1862 Birth of H.F.B. Lynch in London of Irish parentage. Besides his study of law, he became noted as a writer, a geographer, a politician, and a traveller, with a keen interest in Armenia. His two-volume book on his Armenia travels is a classic and describes life in Armenia at the end of the 19th century. In 1906, he was elected to serve as a member of the British Parliament. (He died in London on 1913 11 24).
- 1877 The Yerevan detachment of the Russian forces, headed by General Ter-Ghukasov, occupies Bayazet for 12 days with the help of Armenian home guards.
- 1933 Death of Avetik Sahakian (Father Abraham), the Parliamentary President of the First Armenian Republic.
- 1953 The administrative districts of Yerevan, Kirovakan, and Leninakan are dissolved.
- 1958 Inauguration of the Armenian SSR's Art Institute.