Observers have long warned that the Afghan government is corrupt, but the recent election might actually put a drug lord in the vice president's office. Already the current defense minister, President Hamid Karzai's running mate, Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim, has long been suspected by U.S. officials of running a heroin-smuggling operation. According to The New York Times, the Bush administration struggled trying to determine whether or not to deal with Marshal Fahim, given evidence he was using a Soviet-era cargo plane to transport drugs to Russia and bring back cash. Ultimately, he ended up meeting with top American officials including then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Some members of the administration say the willingness to overlook Marshal Fahim and other drug traffickers was one of the major blunders of the war. Afghanistan's ambassador to the U.S., Tayeb Jawad, told The New York Times that accusations against Marshal Fahim were "politically motivated" and that he would be effective despite likely being barred from traveling to the U.S., as he was picked for "the role he could play in national unity in Afghanistan, not for his ability to make foreign trips."
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