Foreign Policy Blogs

Nine Pictures About The U.S. in Afghanistan


A picture of an Afghan soldier; A picture of U.S Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel after touching down in Afghanistan; a picture of Afghan president Hamid Karzai; a picture of members of the Taliban (as represented in their own promotional video); a picture of Secretary of Defense Hagel in Afghanistan before his meeting with President Karzai; a picture of Bagram prisone; a picture of a corridor of jail cells there; a picture of a prisoner there; a picture of former Afghan Ambassador to the U.S Said Jawad on the PBS Newshour; a picture Secretary Hagel with U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General  Joseph Dunford.

President Hamid Karzai’s comments on national television have set off a quiet firestorm in the United States. Whether Karzai’s choice assertion that the U.S. wants Afghanistan to stay weak so it can monopolize its standing military and, therefore, political might  were employed to shore up his fantastical legacy as a liberator, a founding father of a new Afghanistan, or whether to challenge the perception that he is a the poodle to the incumbent U.S. President, nevertheless they have inflamed a sense of unnecessary harm (at the wrong time) and bitterness within American diplomatic circles. Certainly they’ve inflamed biting rhetoric in the mainstream press from many seasoned foreign policy experts who are usually known for their tact and politic persuasion.  More worryingly, for the U.S and for Karzai, the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General Joseph Dunford has warned U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan that Karzai’s comments might trigger a new round of increased violence.  For, it has become clear that U.S. soldiers face enemy fire from both the Taliban and, often enough, from within the ranks of the so-called Afghan Army.

It seems Hamid Karzai’s comments haven’t helped along his credibility with the United States, the one power that over others bank-rolls him and has helped him keep his shaky and troubled grip on power.  Nevertheless, we’d all do well to think whether things on the ground there, in Afghanistan, will change. We’d do well to consider whether Karzai has any incentives to change track from his regular moves to spite the U.S. and then play nice-nice. Moreover, as the U.S. starts to draw down next year, in 2014, would it not make sense to involve Afghanistan’s neighbors into the discussions and propositions about Afghanistan’s future? So that, finally, yes, Afghanistan’s sovereignty remains forevermore in check.

How ironic.



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link: