UK has failed in Afghanistan, says President Hamid Karzai
British troops and Nato haven't stabilised the country and 'caused a lot of suffering', he claims
THE 444 British troops killed in Afghanistan since 2002 were part of a failed mission that has left the war-torn country unstable and "caused a lot of suffering", the country's president, Hamid Karzai, has said.
In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme the Afghan leader also alleged that Nato was colluding with the Taliban to justify its continuing military presence. He said his government was investigating claims that Nato helicopters had been seen dropping supplies to Taliban fighters in remote areas.
"What else could it be if there are drops of such containers in that area?" Karzai said. "What is it that is happening here, whether there is really a war on terror or whether there is an effort to create instability so to find [a] reason for continuing to have [a] presence here?"
Karzai's comments were "disappointing", General Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army told The Times. Families of British servicemen killed in Afghanistan would find the remarks "very hurtful and distressing", he added.
The BBC's Yalda Hakim, who interviewed Karzai for Newsnight, points out that the president has "long had a troubled relationship with his Western backers". Now, with only six months until elections for his successor, the president's remarks can be seen, in part, as an attempt to "establish his legacy", she says.
The most tangible sign of deteriorating relations between Karzai and the US is the virtual collapse of a deal to allow some American troops to remain in Afghanistan fighting al-Qaeda, says Business Recorder. The White House has been pushing for the bilateral security agreement (BSA) to be signed by the end of this month so the US-led Nato coalition can work out how to withdraw 87,000 combat troops by the end of next year.
Karzai has signalled that he's willing to walk away from talks about the pact. He says he won't be rushed into signing the BSA and will first seek advice from a traditional grand assembly to be convened in a month's time. ·