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US general decries Karzai 'anti-US' speech

Top US general warns that recent statements by Afghan president could place US forces in Afghanistan in more danger.
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2013 20:35

Statements by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, have put US forces in danger, the top US general in the Afghanistan has said.

General Joseph Dunford's warning came on Thursday after Karzai said at a public appearance on March 11 that the Taliban and US continue to hold talks in Qatar, despite rhetoric to the contrary.

Dunford said the statements by the Afghan president were taken as anti-US commentaries.

"Karzai's remarks could be a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces. He may also issue orders that put our forces at risk," Dunford said in an advisory obtained by The New York Times.

"We're at a rough point in the relationship," Dunford said. "[Militants] are also watching and will look for a way to exploit the situation, they have already ramped up for the spring."

'Friend and partner'

However, the office of Hamid Karzai issued a statement clarifying the president's recent remarks.

"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.

"The president said that both countries are in a critical stage of relations, therefore it is natural that each side tries to stand for and focus on its national interests."

At the March 11 public appearance, Karzai said: “The Taliban themselves are every day in discussions with the US yet in Kabul and Khost they set off bombs to show their prowess to the US."

Rather than showing the US their "strength", recent Taliban-claimed attacks in eastern Afghanistan were only working "in support" of a continued foreign presence in the country based on insecurity created by the group's violent attacks, Karzai added.

The Taliban formally suspended the talks one year ago, blaming "shaky, erratic and vague" US statements.

"Senior leaders of the Taliban and the Americans are engaged in talks in the Gulf state [of Qatar] on a daily basis," Karzai told the gathering to mark International Women's Day.

The Taliban and a US official denied the claims that they have resumed talks in Qatar.

"This is simply incorrect," said a US official, who declined to be identified, when asked about Karzai's remarks.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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