World News – Kabul (UNN) Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the Taliban and the US of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if most foreign troops leave – an allegation the top American commander in Afghanistan rejected as “categorically false.
Karzai said two suicide bombings that killed 19 people on Saturday – one outside the Afghan Defence Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province – show the insurgent group is conducting attacks to help showthatinternational forces will still be needed to keep the peace after their current combat mission ends in 2014.
“The explosions in Kabul and Khost yesterday showed that they are at the service of America and at the service of this phrase: 2014. They are trying to frighten us into thinking that if the foreigners are not in Afghanistan, we would be facing these sorts of incidents,” he said during a nationally televised speech about the state of Afghan women.
US and NATO forces commander General Joseph Dunford said Karzai had never expressed such views to him, but said it was understandable that tensions would arise as the coalition balances the need to complete its mission and the Afghans’ move to exercise more sovereignty.
“We have fought too hard over the past 12 years, we have shed too much blood over the last 12 years, to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage,” Dunford said.
Karzai is known for making incendiary comments in his public speeches, a move that is often attributed to him trying to appeal to those who sympathise with the Taliban or as a way to gain leverage when he feels his international allies are ignoring his country’s sovereignty./UNN/EPN