Expressing “extreme anger” towards the United States government, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said in an interview that the war in Afghanistan was not fought with his country’s interests in mind.
“Afghans died in a war that’s not ours,” Karzai said in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper published late on Sunday, just a month before the election to pick his successor.
To the American people, give them my best wishes and my gratitude. To the US government, give them my anger, my extreme anger
He was quoted as saying he was certain the 12-year-old war, the United States’ longest and launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001, was “for the US security and for the Western interest.”
Karzai’s refusal to sign a security deal with Washington that would permit foreign troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond this year has frustrated the White House, and President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the possibility that no US troops will be left in Afghanistan after 2014.
Obama told Karzai in a phone call on Tuesday he had given the order to the Pentagon. The phone call was the first substantive discussion between the two leaders since June.
But staking out a new position, the White House said in a statement it would leave open the possibility of concluding the bilateral security agreement later this year.
“It’s good for them to sign it with my successor,” Karzai told the Post.
He has insisted the US must jump-start peace talks with Taliban fighters, and end raids and strikes on Afghan homes before he signs the deal.
In the interview, the Afghan leader said he was deeply troubled by the war’s casualties, including those in US military operations, and felt betrayed by what he described as an insufficient US focus on targeting Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan rather than in Afghan villages.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan dissipated his country’s “common cause” with the US, Karzai told the newspaper.
Criticising his US allies was the only way to secure a response by Washington to his concerns, he added.
The Post said Karzai told his interviewers as he escorted them out of his office on Saturday night, “To the American people, give them my best wishes and my gratitude. To the US government, give them my anger, my extreme anger.”