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On April 5, the people of Afghanistan will go to the polls to select a new president.The Obama administration has made political and diplomatic blunders that have hurt its credibility not only with Karzai, but also with the Afghan people.Instead of recognizing the transition of power that is about to take place, the Obama administration appears to be on autopilot, continuing to empower Karzai by placing the fate of U.S. policy in his hands.The U.S. can also set things straight with the new Afghan administration by staying out of the upcoming election process. The gulf of mistrust between Karzai and the Obama administration stems from American efforts to bolster Karzai's rivals in the 2009 presidential elections. The U.S. should prepare itself for a flawed outcome.Finally, the U.S. can reset its relationship with Afghanistan by quashing once and for all its efforts to negotiate with the Taliban without the full participation of the Afghan government. The Obama administration's efforts to work on such a controversial policy issue so openly without the participation or blessing of the Afghan government have further damaged relations with Karzai.
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