"Mr. Karzai has had a strained relationship with Washington ever since Mr. Obama was elected in 2008. His first disagreement began over the White House's flawed counterinsurgency strategy, which avoided going after terrorist havens in Pakistan. Mr. Karzai repeatedly insisted that the war on terror should not be fought in Afghan homes, but in North Waziristan, Quetta and Peshawar, where al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been hiding," writes Haroun Mir in the Wall Street Journal.
"Karzai understands perfectly well that the Afghan alliance with the U.S. is a diminishing asset as it moves closer to withdrawal. Under the Afghan Constitution, he may not serve another term, so if the U.S. remains the power behind the throne, he will have to step down in the spring. That would leave him the choice of remaining in Afghanistan, vulnerable to revenge killing by the Taliban, or going into powerless exile from the country he has led for a decade," writes Noah Feldman for Bloomberg.
"Some Afghans have pushed back against Mr. Karzai's conspiracies and destructive ways but not enough. The candidates running to succeed him owe voters a vision of how they will improve governance, reduce corruption and work more productively with the United States and its allies, who have spent billions of dollars to underwrite Afghanistan's economy and will be asked to continue the aid, at reduced levels, in the years to come," the New York Times writes in an editorial.
THAILAND: A plan to set global rice prices has backfired in Thailand, stripping the country of its position as the world's top exporter and leaving the prime minister to face an investigation over the plan as tensions mount in Bangkok (WSJ).