He ticks off a list of complaints voiced by many Afghans: rampant corruption, poor governance with limited capacity, and billions in Western reconstruction aid that often lined pockets instead of creating sustainable, tangible results.
"Now the big problem is disagreement between Karzai and the US – this can create strategic problems for the US and Afghanistan in the future," says Hilal. "Sometimes the president says the reason for insecurity is America itself.... And the Taliban, the president calls them 'brothers,' but they kill innocent people. How can that be? We have no definition of who is the enemy [so] there is no clear strategy about the enemy in Afghanistan."
Mr. Karzai's visit to Washington comes amid news from Afghanistan of yet another "green on blue" attack of a uniformed member of the Afghan Army shooting dead a British soldier on Monday – a reminder of the uncertainties and eroded trust as the US plans to withdraw the bulk of its troops. US forces are part of a 100,000-strong NATO contingent.
The killing was the latest in a surge of such attacks. During the past year, insider attacks killed 63 US and NATO troops, in 47 incidents.
"There is a Western point of view that we have done so much all this time, that we have tried so hard to build up this government, that it's still in such bad shape, that it must be impossible for it to roll on and continue to exist without our help," says Ms. Bijlert.
Yet, "the actual locally relevant governance and politics that went on was often not that visible to the foreigners here. This will probably continue," says Bijlert. Often classified as dysfunctional, that system "has defused a lot of the possible violence."