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Karzai claims US conspires with Taliban

中国日报网 2013-03-12 10:37

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Afghan president says Washington seeks excuse to stay in the country

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to justify its presence in Afghanistan, dumbfounding US officials during a problematic visit by the new Pentagon chief.

A joint news conference by Karzai and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was canceled on Sunday, as the Afghan leader's allegations compounded the troubled nature of the visit after a security scare from twin bomb attacks on Saturday.

"The bombs that were detonated in Kabul and Khost were not a show of force, they were serving America," Karzai said in a televised speech, referring to the two suicide blasts that killed 19 people.

The president said the US was in "daily" talks with the Taliban in Europe and Gulf countries, and that insurgent suicide attacks enabled the international military force to vindicate its deployment in Afghanistan.

Karzai, who has frequently lashed out at perceived US slights through inflammatory language, was angered by a new delay to the planned transfer of the controversial Bagram jail from US to Afghan control.

He is also adamant that his government must be involved in any US-Taliban contact, although the Islamist militia dismisses him as a US puppet and says no dialogue has taken place with the US since a year ago.

The president's news conference with Hagel was scrapped just a few hours before it was due to be held at the presidential palace in Kabul, with US officials citing unspecified security concerns.

While Hagel encountered political tensions with the Afghan president and a series of security problems during his first visit to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief, he finally met privately with Karzai and said they discussed the key issues.

Hagel said he understands that Karzai faces political pressures as the war winds down.

Hagel is disputing Karzai's accusations that the US and the Taliban are working in concert to show that violence in the country will worsen if most coalition troops leave.

The top US commander in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, also rejected the charges Karzai made Sunday as "categorically false".

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.

 

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