Karzai warns US over Bagram jail handover
LASHKARGAH (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday warned the United States the Afghans would themselves mull over a strategy if the Bagram prison was not handed over completely to his government, renewing his assertion that the Taliban served American interests.
Accompanied by some Cabinet ministers and lawmakers, Karzai arrived in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, in the afternoon.
Later, speaking at a press conference, Karzai said the Taliban were in service of the US. He said some disgruntled Taliban leaders were willing to hold talks with his administration, but there were other Taliban who travelled in planes with foreigners and his government opposition political forces for talks overseas.
He said there were some Taliban fighters who used foreign guns against their own people, asking such elements to reform themselves and stop promoting the interest of others at the expense of their brothers' lives.
The president also said the full handover of the Bagram jail would take place next week.
The US military two days ago delayed the transfer. The White House said on Monday the US continued to work with Afghanistan on the transfer of the Bagram jail to the Afghans.
Karzai warned if the jail was not completely handed over by the US, the Afghans would themselves think over a strategy, but he did not explain,
He also asked the Americans to complete the rehabilitation of the Kajaki hydropower plant at the earliest, otherwise hand over the project to the Afghans.
He appealed to Indian businessmen to help his government construct a university in Helmand. He also urged Pakistan to support his government in the elimination of terrorists in the region.
In his previous remarks, Karzai said the US doesn't want to leave the country after the NATO coalition's mandate expires at the end of 2014 because it covets Afghan resources and is talking with Taliban leaders behind his back.
"Taliban are every day in talks with America, but in Kabul and Khost they set off bombs to show strength to America,". Karzai said. "The bombs that went off in Kabul and Khost yesterday were not a show of power to America, but were in service to America…It was in the service of foreigners not withdrawing from Afghanistan."
On Monday, the White House said Karzai's assertion was categorically false. Nobody believes it. Any suggestion the United States is colluding with the Taliban is categorically false,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said told reporters.
He said defence secretary Chuck Hagel addressed these questions directly with Karzai in their meeting, arguing the US had spent enormous blood and treasure for the past 12 years supporting the Afghan people in the effort to ensure stability and security in that country.
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