To become Afghanistan's first elected President, he has to placate warlords, pacify the Taliban--and survive

DURING AFGHAN PRESIDENT HAMID Karzai's first campaign outing two weeks ago, an enemy rocket whizzed by his U.S. military helicopter and slammed into the camelback hills where he was supposed to land. Karzai brushed off the near miss, but his American guardians insisted on returning to Kabul. Half-jokingly, Karzai said, "I'm an Afghan, and I promise I'll take my revenge." Sure enough, the next day, Karzai slipped past his American protectors and, with two baffled Afghan bodyguards in tow, commandeered a driver to take him to a Kabul bazaar. The President wanted to buy a pomegranate.

It took a few seconds...

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