William Dalrymple on Hamid Karzai

Isaac Chotiner in The New Republic:

ScreenHunter_480 Feb. 02 17.24To discuss Karzai’s tenure in office—set to end this year—and help make sense of the current disagreements between him and the Obama administration, I spoke on the phone with William Dalrymple, who recently interviewed Karzai for a profile in The New York Times Magazine, and who has written several books on Afghanistan and South Asia, the most recent of which is Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-42. We discussed Karzai’s mental state, his anger at the United States, and what will happen after American troops depart.

Isaac Chotiner: What game is Karzai playing?

William Dalrymple: I think he’s actually playing a much cleverer game than he’s given credit for. It’s very clear. He knows the United States needs him so he doesn’t have to play to an American audience. America has invested too much in Afghanistan to just turn back and cut its losses–although the Obama administration is showing every sign of wanting to get out as fast as it possibly can. Therefore his concern is to leave a legacy, which he views as divorcing himself as much as he possibly can from the United States, while still gaining access to American money and arms.

More here.