Democracy Promotion

KABUL, Afghanistan — Eight years ago, Mahmoud Karzai was running a handful of modest restaurants in San Francisco, Boston and Baltimore. Today, Mr. Karzai, an immigrant waiter-turned-restaurant owner, is one of Afghanistan’s most prosperous businessmen.

NYT reports.

Mahmoud Karzai is an idealist:

An unabashed advocate for money-making in the country his brother runs, Mr. Karzai attributes his success to having big ambitions and taking on ventures that others saw as too risky. “I’m investing in projects that require real work,” he said in an interview. “I’m in love with the idea that Afghanistan can become a Singapore, a Hong Kong.”

However:

Mr. Karzai’s swift rise has stirred resentment and suspicion among many Afghans…

…I wonder why.

Mahmoud Karzai similarly [to his brother’s spokesman] dismissed complaints that he had traded on his family ties. “There is a great amount of jealousy and misinformation about me,” he said in an interview. “All the criticism that I’m getting insider deals because of my brother is flat-out wrong and lies.”

Alright, then.

Incidentally, President Karzai has five more brothers and one sister. Among them:

Qayum Karzai, who owns an Afghan restaurant in Baltimore, served until recently in the Afghan Parliament, though other members groused that he almost never showed up.

and

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of the Kandahar provincial council, [who] has been accused of narcotics trafficking by Afghan and American officials…

La famiglia e tutto, as they say in Sicilia…

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