I lengthily tried to say something that was on the tip of my tongue two days ago, when I collected some thoughts and reflections about the way the West views the Afghan elections and the Afghan president's job (and Karzai's performance so far). But then Derek Flood, AfPax Insider, found exactly the words I wouldn't find myself: "While the international community is focused on the 'end' of the political process, it is actually the beginning of the political frenzy." And a nice, well-outlined analysis follows there, one that may perhaps get carried away in some places, but is still useful contrast to (and has for more link to reality than) the general U.S. assessment of the situation (≈ "Karzai's government was/is corrupt and now he cheated to remain in power; oh, we will have a totally illegitimate Afghan government now").
It also reflects on the ongoing scheming against former Northern Alliance, currently United Front figures, which seems truly astonishing given how they will be needed as a counterbalance for any successful negotiation with the Taliban in the end. MK Bhadrakumar takes the time to examine the killing of Dr Abdullah Laghmani, the deputy head of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS), in light of this; also very much worth reading.
Meanwhile, as Baba Tim noted on September 2, Laghmani's killing is part of a series of assassinations against the NDS and the Afghan security establishment, by ghosts from the shadow. He says: "Dr. Abdullah and Mr. Imadudin join the Jani Khel district of Paktya Chief of Police and a senior CT (counter terrorism) commander in Khost as well as many more minor security officials in being “martyred” within the last six days." Earlier on, an NDS officer was kidnapped in Kunduz province, and he was found three days later, hanging from a tree, in Baghlan city. And yesterday there was a possibly connected, unsuccessful attack (although it did claim two by-standers' lives) on an NDS detention facility in Kandahar city.
So one ought to forget fairytale assumptions of Afghanistan in need of either just a good president instead of a bad one or having its current president pressured into becoming good enough.