Karzai accuses Taliban of Serving US Interests, Slams (Non-Existent) US-Taliban Talks

Once again, the erratic president of Afghanistan, had US officials shaking their heads in disbelief after he gave a speech while Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is in Kabul in which he blamed the interactions of the US and the Taliban for his country’s security problems.

Karzai was visibly angry about the Taliban bombing at the Ministry of Defense on Hagel’s arrival. In his Pashtu speech he said that the Taliban carried it out “in the service of America.” What he appears to have meant by that weird accusation is that the Taliban are eager to prevent a US withdrawal in 2014 and are attempting to draw the US into a greater entanglement in the country as a pretext for painting the Kabul government as lackeys of the Americans who need to be overthrown.

He also implied that the US is hoping for pretexts to extend its military presence in the country. US generals denied that they wanted to be there any longer than was necessary to leave the country in a stable condition. The US has ceased active, unilateral combat missions in country, and is scheduled largely to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Karzai also complained about US negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar, which he said had started back up. This assertion is untrue, according to both the US and the Taliban. Karzai has for some time exhibited paranoid conspiracy theories. He once told bewildered visiting Congressmen that he had a choice of joining the Taliban or siding with the US and that sometimes he regrets his decision for the latter.

Chuck Hagel, patient and gentlemanly to a fault, calmly refuted Karzai’s bizarre accusations, though to his credit he said that talking to the Taliban might not be such a bad thing in principle:

17 Responses

  1. Does anyone find it odd that Karzai — who owes his position to the US — feels free to indulge in careless rhetoric that lumps the US with his enemies? (And this on the very day, as it happens, when more US soldiers were killed in a “rogue” insider attack.) I can’t imagine that these latest developments will do anything but accelerate the US military drawdown and withdrawal. When that happens, Karzai’s goose is cooked. What is he up to?

  2. ¿Do Taliban~US talks prior to 30AUG2010 qualify your headline?
    WATimes ~ 30 AUG 2010

  3. Dear Juan, I suggest that you read M K Bhadrakumar’s article in Asia Times link to atimes.com. on this subject. I think his understanding of the issues is closer to reality than yours. The US military and “intelligence community” do NOT want an end to US involvement ($$$) in Afghanistan, what would they do without a war? Their budget’s might get cut!?

  4. Of course there is someone in the US Government who is somehow engaged with the Taliban.
    If not, then it would be fair to conclude that our State Department was wholly incompetent.
    In addition, that looks like the only way to get our POW Bowe Bergdahl back. If we don’t talk to his captors, then he stays in Miran Shah forever. So somebody in DoD is also engaged with the Taliban at some level.

    And of course the Secretary of Defense is not going to acknowledge such talks.

    Golly, it feels good to have an adult running that department, after all these years.

    • “Of course there is someone in the US Government who is somehow engaged with the Taliban. If not, then it would be fair to conclude that our State Department was wholly incompetent.”

      It is, of course, possible that we are talking to the Taliban via a back-channel of some sort. Nevertheless, your categorical statement that someone in the US Government is engaged with the Taliban appears to be based on your own wishful thinking, and the apparent hope that just talking to someone in the Taliban could prove fruitful.

      There is no reason to believe that just “talking to the Taliban” would push anything forward. There are many variables that would have to be considered before engaging the Taliban. First and foremost, the Taliban leadership (and I do mean those in a position to make decisions) would have to be behind such talks. It would make no sense to talk to someone who had no authority. Second, we would have to be convinced that such talks were not merely designed by the Taliban as stalling tactics. Third, as flaky a leader as he is, we would have to be careful that talks with the Taliban would not even further undermine our relationship with Karzai. The State Department is more than competent enough to recognize that these conditions must be met before engaging with the Taliban.

      • I guess we just have to hope that people who are as smart and informed as Bill would want us to believe he is are staffing all the important posts in our State Department. Because if one kind of looks at the history of US diplomacy, as managed by the various iterations of State policies and strategies, as intersected and undermined by the activities of the CIA and similar fellas and gals, as affected by profit-driven “other activities,” one might be left with the impression that many of them can’t find their backsides with both hands, or are strangely indistinguishable from what they might complain are “agents of a foreign government.”

        But there’s no doubt they are Serious People. Smoke-Blowing Serious. Deadly Serious. Rendition Serious. Corruption and Bribery and Destabilization and Advancement of Corporate (as opposed to, you know, “National”) Interests Serious. (I know — Corporate Interests ARE National Interests, right? The “experts” here have not deigned to offer any kind of definition for the term, so we just have to kind of go by what gets apologized for and puffed as “wise” and of course “legal.”)

        I wonder: Do any of those Serious People, in their nice offices, sit around with a drink or three and laugh and sneer at how stupid and gullible the Wogs and the Taxpayers are?

  5. It would be interesting to get a psychiatrist’s diagnosis of the pathological condition (clinical psychosis!) that is afflicting Karzai. From the beginning, he clearly has been mentally unstable.

      • “Gee, then why did “we”, ah, “support” him?”

        Elementary as it may seem to most of us, you don’t always get to choose the leader you support.

        • Can’t choose the leaders “you” support? Like the Shah, and Battista, and Noriega, and Diem and Ky, and even, when it suited the Great Gamers, Saddam Hussein (who was told by Amb. April Glaspie, on orders from Foggy Bottom, to let Saddam know “we” had no interest in his petty intra-Arab disputes) and a whole long list of others? Your “elementary” seems to glide untroubled over a whole ocean of turbulence… And you were the one who asserted that the guy was mentally unstable, even psychotic!, as you admit, “from the beginning.”

          I guess the Wise Ones are now seeking to unwind their involvement with Karzai, as they did with Diem and others, in advance of a change of regime? Nothing like that has ever happened before, of course — is that why you made your diagnosis?

        • In December 2001, under the Bonn Agreement, Hamid Karzai was named Chairman of the interim Transitional Administration. The Loya Jirga of 13 June 2002, appointed Karzai Interim President of the Afghan Transitional Administration. In the October 2004 election, Karzai won 21 of the 34 provinces, becoming Afghanistan’s elected president.

          It is always wise to study a bit of history before flying off on rants that have no bearing on the topic at hand.

        • Yes, that whole process just totally legitimized Karzai as the Leader of All Afghanistan. And the US had nothing to do with any of that. And of course that election you refer to had no rancid taint of fraud about it. And speaking of history, who elected the Shah? And how did Diem come to power? and how did Marcos hang around? Et cetera? I bet the people who Make Things Happen are really proud of the great changes they have forced on the rest of the world…

          The people you apologize for in our Secret Squirrel Agencies seem to have not too much trouble putting Their Guys into places of national rulership. Or removing “unfriendly” guys.

  6. It makes perfect sense to me. If Karzai hopes to survive after the US withdrawal, the most urgent task for him is to distance himself from the US. If he’s seen as a lackey, he’ll soon be gone. He’s trying to position himself as a nationalist. Claiming that Taliban attacks serve to prolong US occupation may be a good tactic. The idea seems to be that the Taliban aren’t acting in Afghan interests (he can also accuse them of being agents of the Pakistani ISI), only Karzai, the great nationalist (ok, try not to laugh) speaks for Afghanistan.

  7. OTOH, whatever the intentions of the Obama administration, it is plausible that the Taliban want the U.S. to stick around a while longer. The ISAF presence does give them credibility as a nationalist movement against the foreign invaders and their lackey government. The chance to kill the occasional foreigner helps obfuscate their unpopular actions and attributes.

    And I doubt Karzai is actually crazy. Inept maybe — but trying to seed the idea that the Taliban aren’t really nationalists and he is guy who is truly confronting the imperialists seems to be rationally motivated, however strained.

  8. Is it possible that it is the private US contractors in Afghanistan, with an interest in extending their presence there, who are in fact interacting with the Taliban? Excuse my synicism given behavior of some of these contractors it would not surprise me.

  9. The US vowed to leave immediately if a second election was not held after the first corrupt election fell thru and Karzai’s opponent so accused. Shortly before the second election, Karzai’s opponents dropped out again saying the fix was in, and no outside observor refuted him.

    Did the US leave? Nahhh, you can’t get rid of an imperialist
    “guest” with a passive populace which allows it to lie again and again to it about matters concerning loss of blood and treasure.

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