Afghan Leader Says U.S. Abets Taliban’s Goal

Among Mr. Karzai’s critical comments on Sunday, which came at an early-morning news conference in honor of women’s day in Afghanistan, he charged that the American government and the Taliban, while using different means, had in effect colluded to keep Afghanistan unstable to justify a continued American military presence.

President Hamid Karzai leveled particularly harsh accusations against the United States on Sunday, suggesting that the Americans and the Taliban had a common goal in destabilizing his country. The comments cast a shadow on the first visit by Chuck Hagel as defense secretary.

The Afghan president’s discontent with his American allies has been a recurring theme over the past 10 years. Still, his condemnation now, at a critical moment for talks under way on the shape and scope of any American military presence here past 2014, has raised new questions about the two countries’ abilities to bridge their intensifying differences.

In recent days, Mr. Karzai has been the most critical about some of the policies that American officials have described as most important to their mission here, including the widespread use of Special Operations forces and a continuing say in how battlefield detainees are vetted and released. He has seized on both as violations of Afghan sovereignty, barring American commandos from Wardak Province and bristling at critical terms in a negotiated agreement on Bagram Prison.

A result was a last-minute refusal by American officials on Saturday to hand the Afghan government full control of the prison.


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