Afghan president lashes out at U.S., straining Hagel visit
KABUL, Afghanistan — The often-volatile U.S. relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai grew increasingly strained Sunday as Karzai accused the United States and Taliban insurgents of having a secret understanding to foment violence as a pretext to keep foreign troops in Afghanistan.
The comments were the latest — and perhaps the most baffling — broadside by the mercurial Afghan leader against one of his nation's closest allies, leaving U.S. officials privately fuming and publicly struggling to limit the fallout.
The comments came hours before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, in Kabul on his first visit since taking office, was scheduled to hold a joint news conference with Karzai at the presidential palace. The news conference was canceled, a move that U.S. officials said was due not to Karzai's inflammatory remarks but to security concerns.
In a speech in Kabul to commemorate International Women's Day, Karzai said that the bombings carried out a day earlier by the Taliban in the capital and eastern province of Khowst, killing 18, "were not to show [the insurgents'] power but to serve the United States." Speaking in the Dari language, he added that the bombings were intended "to pave the way for foreigners not to leave, but to stay.
Seriously, this asshole should get to deal with the Taliban by himself. What a jerk. What a kook.