Lonely at the Top

Spend time with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, and you discover how he uses a light touch--plus a lot of U.S. firepower--to keep the warlords at bay and his country united

How do you run a country just emerging from a brutal civil war and still teeming with armed warlords? Especially if you don't have a military of your own? For Hamid Karzai, the answer sometimes is just to take care of the little things. On a recent afternoon, Afghanistan's interim leader decides to take the pulse of the capital, Kabul, on foot. Before setting out, he removes his trademark green-striped Uzbek robe and puts on a less flashy overcoat. Accompanied by a pair of aides but no bodyguards, he strolls through the palace gates to check out the city. He stops...

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