"No occupation force can stay in Afghanistan against the will of the Afghan people. None ever has, none ever will" - these are the words of the incumbent Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is seeking a second term in the upcoming presidential elections in August. He knows the Afghan history and is therefore correct when he says that no occupation force has ever stayed against the will of the Afghans but seems shy to apply the same historical truth to his own presidency, which heavily relies on the crutches of the foreign occupation forces - Nato, ISAF and Americans - for its sustenance. Can he then be called a true head of the Afghans or is he merely a prop of Western neo-imperialism? Nick B Mills' work sheds considerable light on Karzai's American connection. Millions of Afghans had migrated to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and so did Karzai's family. His father took up work in an office of Professor Sibghatullah Mojaddedi's ANLF organisation in Quetta and Hamid assisted in that office, which was ANLF's operations department whose task was to arrange the military supplies for the mujahideen. He was not a legendary warrior like Ahmad Shah Massoud, Abdul Haq or Jalaluddin Haqqani, although he did carry out military operations against the Soviets in 1987 and 1988. On the contrary, he was known more as the 'best-dressed Afghan' intellectual who was well at home in dealing political issues with the interested Western officials and organisations. Before he slipped into southern Afghanistan to rally the Pashtun population against the Taliban shortly after 9/11, he had been visited by American officials in Quetta and assured of support by the British, French and the Italians. No matter how fierce the Afghans are in their resistance to the US, some of them know that they can achieve success only if they will have the backing of the Americans. This was the reason why, when he was organising the resistance against the Taliban in the Oruzgan province, a group of tribal leaders warned him: "They told me that if I had the United States with me I would win, but if not, they said, 'Don't even try. Don't damage yourself, your history, or the people of this area.'" This shows the might of the American power. There is another example that explains how some of the Afghans are beholden to the invincibility of the US strength. Whenever Karzai solicited the support of the Afghan King Zahir Shah to topple the Taliban regime, the King would invariably enquire: "Do you have the United States with you?" and when Karzai would say: "Yes, we have the Americans with us," the King would assuringly reply: "Good. Now we can do it." Karzai was not bluffing. During his days with ANLF, he had developed close contact with Western diplomats including the CIA, which was most active during the Afghan Jihad. While inside Afghanistan, he was in constant contact with the US embassy in Islamabad through a satellite phone. When he asked for an airdrop of weapons to take on the Taliban, the US embassy instructed him to make a square of fires, a hundred metres apart so that they could ascertain his position. Subsequently, planes flying without lights parachuted weapons and when the word spread around, the Afghans began to join him in large numbers. While Karzai took up the guns against the Taliban in the south, a motley of US and UK commandos and a handful of CIA agents organised the local resistance to coordinate Northern Alliance's advance on Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif. Later, Karzai was picked by US helicopters and brought to Helmand. With more American military and back-room diplomatic support, his fortunes began to sail. From a mud house in Tirin Kot, he was allowed to address by means of a satellite phone, the participants of the Bonn conference held under the UN auspices to decide the future of post-Taliban Afghanistan. Things began to fall in pieces, when Burhanuddin Rabbani, the president of the ousted mujahideen government called Karzai from Kabul and said: "I would like you to take over. I would like to transfer power to you." Days later, the Bonn conference selected him as the Chairman of the Afghan Interim Government. From Kandhar, Karzai boarded an American military plane along with his brother and uncle and reached Kabul to start as the President of Afghanistan. The war-weary Afghans hoped that Karzai would bring peace to them. So, over 50 percent of them supported him in the 2005 elections. After four years, he is standing for re-election on August 20 and the result of the International Republican Institute's recent poll in Afghanistan reveal that his support among his countrymen has dwindled to 31 percent. This is because he has failed to deliver what he was expected to. He is a virtual prisoner in his Kabul palace and is seen more of a puppet of his American masters. The American fortunes have also plummeted in the last four years. According to a 2005 ABC/BBC poll, about 80 percent of the Afghans held a favourable opinion of the US, now this approval rate has significantly shrunk to 47 percent. Those Westerners who flaunt that the American-led overthrow of the Taliban was an act of liberation should realise that, today, the Afghans view the presence of the US and NATO forces on their soil exactly like the Soviet occupying army in the 1980s. These neo-imperialists are likely to succeed in foisting Karzai for another four years as the president but history will always remember him not as an Afghan nationalist who fought for the sovereignty of his land but as a collaborator of American imperialists, who prolonged the misery and subjugation of his people. Karzai knows Afghan history when he says: "No occupation force can stay in Afghanistan against the will of the Afghan people" but he has no sense of history because he has aligned himself with the same forces of occupation which are lording over Afghanistan against the will of the Afghans. E-mail: qizilbash2000@yahoo.com