Karzai's comments aim to "correct" ties with US
KABUL (PAN): As the top US commander in Afghanistan warned western troops to be on high alert following a string of President Hamid Karzai anti-American rhetoric, the Karzai office on Thursday clarified his remarks were aimed to "correct" rather than damage relations with the US.
"The president called the United States a friend and strategic partner of Afghanistan and said his recent comments... had been to correct rather than damage this relationship," a statement from his office said.
It said Karzai meant both countries were in a critical stage of relations. "Therefore it is natural that each side tries to stand for and focus on its national interests."
The statement quoted the President as telling an open jirga at the Presidential Palace that among the causes of tension were a dispute over detainees held by the United States and civilian casualties in NATO military operations.
"We want a good relationship with America, we want friendship, but friendship between two sovereign nations," Karzai told the audience of invited guests and government officials.
Karzai's allegation of collusion provoked fury among US officials, prompting the US top commander in Afghanistan to warn Western troops that Karzai's comments put their lives in danger.
A leaked, confidential memo sent by General Joseph Dunford to officers in Afghanistan said recent comments by Karzai could be “a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces.”
Dunford said Karzai’s “inflammatory speech” about the controversial Bagram Prison could prompt members of Afghan government forces to stage insider attacks on American troops and other Western allies.
And he warned that the Afghan president himself “may also issue orders that put our forces at risk.” Dunford admitted that Afghanistan and the US were “at a rough point in the relationship.”
The general also warned that the Taliban and other insurgent groups would be “watching and will look for a way to exploit the situation -- they have already ramped up for the spring.”
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.