Afghanistan - Leadership

Karzai was initially designated leader of the interim government established in December 2001; the interim government prepared for the loya jirga in June 2002, which elected Karzai president of the Transitional Authority. He was to govern the country for 18 months to two years, until elections are held.

In August 2002, Karzai made his first national address on radio, focusing on the importance of national security. He called for the building of a national army representing Afghanistan's diverse populations. Karzai emphasized that having an army dedicated to protecting national sovereignty would serve to unify the country.

In November 2002, Karzai fired 24 regional officials in an attempt to curb abuses of power in office, including corruption, allegations of drug trafficking, and disobeying the law. Since becoming president, Karzai has struggled to exercise authority outside of Kabul, as many provincial warlords maintain control—including taxation, customs, and security—over their territories. They use violence to resolve ethnic and territorial disputes. In December, Karzai banned political leaders from taking part in military activity as another way of asserting authority over the warlords.

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