NEW YORK - US Secretary of State Hillary Clintons rapport with Hamid Karzai makes her a good go-between for Karzai and President Barack Obama, according to The New York Times. As Karzai begins his new presidential term the Obama administration realizes it must depend on him to implement its Afghan strategy, including how many additional US troops to deploy, the newspaper said in a dispatch from Kabul on Friday. Hillary is seen as Obamas best intermediary for that task. The importance of Hillarys rapport with Karzai becomes clear as some senior US officials have either clashed with the Afghan leader or have never developed a relationship with him, the newspaper said. As Karzai begins his new term, Hillary has worked to avoid a hectoring tone in her public comments about him, it said. American officials had done too much of that in the past, she said. Karzais respect for Hillary became clear after he changed the date of his inauguration to suit her schedule, a senior American official told the Times. It is critical Obama develops a channel to Karzai where hard messages can go both ways, Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who helped develop the administrations original Afghan policy, said. Hillary combines the hard-headed strength, the political clout and the human understanding to do it right, Riedel said. The report warned such a role carries risks for Hillary as her image could be damaged if Karzai proves a failure. In an interview with the Times after Karzais swearing-in, Hillary said the Afghan president has a tremendous historical opportunity, but also noted, That doesnt mean you make excuses for behaviour that you want to see changed; you constantly push back. The report quoted a senior official as saying Hillary in her meeting with Karzai this week clearly told him to fight corruption or risk losing American aid. Asked about reports in The New York Times that the C.I.A. made payments to a brother of Karzai, Ahmed Wali Karzai, who is suspected of involvement in the drug trade, Hillary did not respond directly, but said, Every country makes compromises, and it behooves you to be humble about pointing fingers. It also is a reminder that we have to do more to support his campaign against corruption, she added. We have to facilitate, not impede, the removal and even prosecution of those who are corrupt.