Karzai Accuses U.S. Of Colluding Against Him With Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai made  some rather odd comments today:

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan accused the Taliban and the United States on Sunday of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if most foreign troops leave — an accusation that the top American commander in Afghanistan rejected as “categorically false.”

Mr. Karzai said two suicide bombings that killed 19 people on Saturday — one outside the Afghan Defense Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost Province — showed that the insurgent group was conducting attacks to demonstrate that international forces would still be needed to keep the peace after their 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.

Mr. Karzai is known for his incendiary comments, a tactic that is often seen as an effort to appeal to Taliban sympathizers or to gain leverage when he feels his international allies are ignoring his country’s sovereignty. In previous speeches, he has threatened to join the Taliban and has said that the NATO allies are occupiers who want to plunder Afghanistan’s resources.

The American military commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., said Mr. Karzai had never expressed such views to him, but added that 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,” General Dunford said.

The Karzai government’s latest comments and actions come as it negotiates a pact with the United States for the long-term presence of American forces in Afghanistan and just days after an agreement fell through to transfer an American prison outside of Kabul to Afghan authority. They also came during the first visit to the country by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, a trip made in part to meet with Mr. Karzai. Hours after the Afghan president’s speech, Mr. Karzai’s and Mr. Hagel’s joint news conference was canceled by officials who cited security concerns, though they said the two men planned to meet privately.

Mr. Karzai said in his speech that any foreign powers that want to keep troops in Afghanistan need to do so under conditions set forward by the government.

“We will tell them where we need them, and under which conditions. They must respect our laws. They must respect the national sovereignty of our country and must respect all our customs,” Mr. Karzai said.

It’s always been difficult to figure out exactly what motivates Hamid Karzai, so I wouldn’t even begin to venture a guess as to what’s going on here. It’s entirely possible, though, that this is either an effort on his part to gain some kind of advantage in the negotiations over an agreement for the future presence of U.S. and other foreign troops in the country, or it’s a sign that those negotiations aren’t going well. In either case, it’s yet another example of just what kind of person we’re relying upon in one of the most dangerous country’s in the world. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence,does it?

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. It’s always been difficult to figure out exactly what motivates Hamid Karzai, so I wouldn’t even begin to venture a guess as to what’s going on here.

    No it’s not. He wants to be the Afghani Sadam Hussein. His goal is about getting the US to give him the resources to ruthlessly enforce his will on the entire country without the US being in a position to obstruct his use of those resources.

  2. Mike says:

    He’ll be living in a western European country w/I 5 years with our millions seeking asylum. Afghan was a bad experiment that won’t get better. Time to pull the plug

  3. Mikey says:

    Sometimes I think the Taliban would be more honorable and dependable allies than Karzai. He’s pretty much the exemplar of “with friends like him, who needs enemies?”

  4. ernieyeball says:

    @Mikey: “with friends like him, who needs enemies?”

    You can say that again and again and again…

    Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
    “The President is most happy that His Majesty has paid the United States the honor of this visit, which enabled not only the President but many officials of the Government, as well as the American people, more clearly to know and understand Iran, its great traditions, and its present achievements and objectives.”
    Harry S Truman

    Francisco Franco
    “General Franco was a loyal friend and ally of the United States.”
    Richard Milhous Nixon

    Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte
    According to various reports and investigations 1,200–3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children.
    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick, visited Gen. Pinochet and stated that she hoped that outstanding unresolved disputes,..would not obstruct restoration of cordial relations.

    Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi
    Among the Gaddafi regime’s new lobbyists in Washington was arch neocon Richard Perle, a former Reagan-era US Defense Department official and George W. Bush-era chair of the US Defense Policy Board.

    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-TikritiIraq invaded Iran, With the support of the Arab states, the United States, and Europe, and heavily financed by the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein had become “the defender of the Arab world” against a revolutionary Iran.

    Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno
    Although the relationship did not become contractual until 1967, Noriega worked with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the late 1950s until the 1980s

  5. michael reynolds says:


    That is really objectionable. You imply that Karzai has stolen millions? That’s slanderous: he’s stolen billions.

    Come on. Be fair.

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    @ernieyeball: Thank you for that! Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is probably the best example of blow back. The CIA overthrew a democratically elected secular leader – installed a nearly universally hated monarch. That worked out pretty well.

  7. Dazedandconfused says:

    He’s trying to tell the Taliban to behave, they are only making getting the US troops out more difficult now.

    He’s not going to run for President again. Term-limited out and has stashed plenty of cash in the UAE, where he and his extended family will probably go. Can’t blame him over-much for that, considering what happened to the guy who took over after the Soviets left.

    It’s not sure his plans are that simple though. He knows he will be hounded by the Talibs for stealing all that cash if he goes that route and may consider it a “golden parachute”. Just guessing, but if he plays his cards right now, he may be able to stay. Be an ambassador for the new regime and perhaps talk our neo-cons into keeping the money river flowing. He does the right things now and keeps the right asses well-kissed, he would be a BMOC in Afghanistan, as opposed to just another grifter in the UAE. Stay, and as a rich man who can get his beak wet on Chinese mining, pipelines and who knows what else, then his extended family is set for the long haul, and not just until the loot runs out.

  8. Karzai is trying to appeal to the American right-wing just like Bibi! is.

  9. Rob Prather says:

    I wonder if Karzai is done picking the pole he’s going to be hanged from when the U.S. leaves Afghanistan.