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 An Ariana Media Publication 10/24/2014
 Hamid Karzai: America could have done better in Afghanistan

Telegraph
06/02/2012
By Ben Farmer

[Printer Friendly Version]

Hamid Karzai has spoken of his disappointment at American efforts to secure his country and said at times ties with his main ally had been so strained their alliance had nearly collapsed.

Kabul - The Afghan president complained that the Nato intervention had failed to bring peace and said the Afghan people had not been given the security they deserved.

He used a wide-ranging interview with an American magazine to restate his opposition to Nato tactics and said he hoped the international coalition would be able to go home early if it successfully finished its handover to the Afghan security forces.

"In its time here the United States could have done a lot better for Afghanistan," he told Time Magazine.

"The Afghan people for the first time in their history welcomed a foreign force.

"But then they did not regard the homes of Afghan villagers as homes that gave the United States and Nato a welcome.

"And in the name in the war on terror, which everybody knew was to be fought elsewhere, too many innocent Afghans lost their lives. Too many were wounded, too many homes were violated."

America has spent more than half a trillion dollars on the Afghan campaign in the past decade and around 2,000 of its troops have died.

He thanked America and Nato for bringing better education, healthcare, economic growth and a measure of stability to Afghanistan, but complained they had not brought security.

"It did not bring the defeat of terrorism, as we thought it would. It did not fight the war in terrorism in a manner that we felt was right.

It was fought against our own will, against our own advice," he told the magazine.

Mr Karzai has often attacked Nato and US tactics, saying the fight against the Taliban should not be waged in Afghan towns and villages, but rather the coalition should address safe havens across the border in Pakistan.

He has also railed against Nato commanders for allowing Afghan civilians to be killed in bungled airstrikes and night raids.

Tensions had been so high at times that the US and Afghans were "almost to the point of saying goodbye".

However he denied his stance was anti-American, explaining that his first duty had to be to defend Afghan lives and property.

"We are not anti-American," he told the magazine.

"We are rather pro-American. But I have to protect Afghan homes. The US media understood it as Afghan belligerence, or opposition to the US. It was opposition to a method applied to Afghanistan."

Mr Karzai's forces will assume the lead for securing the country sometime next year and will have assumed full responsibility by the end of 2014.

He said he would welcome an earlier withdrawal if "everything is done in time" and the Nato alliance members wanted to leave.

It would be "good for us and good for them", he believed. "Good for us because it's our country and we must defend it. Good for them because I don't want anymore international forces' lives lost in Afghanistan. I don't want their money spent in Afghanistan when the things they are doing we can do."

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