Gates praises Karzai’s WikiLeaks response

Will Rahn Senior Editor
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He might not be the George Washington we were hoping for, but at least Afghan President Hamid Karzai can take a little criticism.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates praised the Afghan president’s subdued response to the WikiLeaks scandal this week in spite of cables referring to Karzai as a “weak and paranoid leader” with a bad habit of releasing well connected insurgents and drug dealers from prison. In one cable, Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, wrote that Karzai was unable to understand “the most rudimentary principles of state-building” and his “deep seated insecurity” was “confounding our best efforts to find in Karzai a responsible partner.”

Gates called Karzai’s thick-skinned attitude “statesmanlike” and said America wouldn’t forget it.