Afghanistan: Karzai a Problem or Solution?

One of the biggest challenges President Obama faces in charting a future for the war in Afghanistan is that country's troubled leadership.

Hamid Karzai presides over a government that's been called everything from inept to corrupt - a far cry from when he first took office, reports "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric.

When Hamid Karzai became the interim president of Afghanistan in 2001, there were great expectations that he would be an honest leader.

"A majority of Afghans, including some people in the Taliban thought Karzai was the right person to lead the country towards peace and stability," said Michael Semple of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government

But eight years later, both Karzai's people and his allies worry he's anything but honest.

"Now people seem to be deeply disappointed," Semple said. "He's failed as a leader and presides over a corrupt administration."

Video: Katie Couric Reports on Karzai's Leadership

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When Karzai sought his second reelection to the presidency, he chose Marshal Fahim as a running mate. Fahim is believed to be a drug dealer and a war lord.

"The coalition that Karzai put together to support him in this election drew on, frankly, some of the worst elements of recent Afghan history," said John Nagl of the Center for a New American Security.

When the election was held in August, there were so many reports of fraud committed by Karzai's supporters that a massive recount and U.N. investigation are underway. His opponent Dr. Abdullah Abdullah refuses to concede.

"I think had he had the best interest of Afghanistan in his heart he would have respected the law of the country, the constitution, the electoral law," Abdullah said.

There are also accusations that Karzai's own brother is linked to the drug trade. He's the leader of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, the region producing 90 percent of the world's opium and heroin.

"There's no security and it seems that the mafia has more to say about what goes on in the presidential palace than the people," Semple said.

The commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, admits all of these allegations of corruption in the government make his job harder.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin asked McChrystal whether the corruption drives people into the arms of the Taliban?

"It absolutely does," McChrystal said. "A lack of trust in their government undercuts the willingness to support their government."

Related: McChrystal on "60 Minutes"

And if the Afghan people don't support their government, they might not want to sign up and join an army to defend it - making it all the more uncertain how much longer U.S. forces will stay.

"I'm not gonna you know, put on a happy face and say, oh yeah, well, we'll get that done in a year or two," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. "This is hard work. And it requires having a government that has the trust, the confidence and the loyalty of the security forces."

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