Karzai says media misinterpreted comments on U.S. and Taliban
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during news conference in Kabul.
March 25th, 2013
06:38 PM ET

Karzai says media misinterpreted comments on U.S. and Taliban

By Tom Cohen and Jason Hanna

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Monday to repair strained relations with President Hamid Karzai as the American-led international force continues to prepare to end its combat mission next year.

Kerry's stop came on the same day that U.S. forces turned over control of a prison that has caused tension between the two nations, with Americans retaining a say on the handling of certain Taliban inmates.

The talks on Monday followed controversial comments by Karzai in recent weeks that seemed to accuse U.S. forces of working with the Taliban to kill Afghan civilians, a charge denied by U.S. officials.

Karzai's reported remarks caused outrage in Washington with some in Congress questioning why the United States should continue the war effort.

At a joint news conference after meeting Kerry, Karzai said he had been misinterpreted when quoted as alleging collusion between the Americans and the Taliban.

But he made clear that violence against villagers must stop for there to be any chance for successful peace talks.

Karzai explained that he was talking about Taliban violence, especially how a bombing in Kabul that killed nine people didn't help achieve the Taliban goal of getting foreign troops to withdraw. He said media reports misinterpreted his comments to mean he was accusing the Taliban and United States of collusion.

"If they want the international community to leave Afghanistan, then the best way is for them to stop killing people," Karzai said of the Taliban. "That does not mean a collusion between the Untied States and Taliban. That's a conclusion the press came up with."

Karzai also said some U.S. special forces in Wardak province had tortured and killed Afghan civilians, but that had stopped when those forces were removed under a recent agreement after his government complained.

He made sure to emphasize his appreciation for U.S. support, twice declaring the thanks of the Afghan people for American assistance that he said would "enable Afghanistan to manage itself through 2014 and beyond."

For his part, Kerry emphasized the commitment of President Barack Obama to Afghanistan and its people would continue past the halt in combat operations by the NATO forces before the end of next year.

The United States and Afghanistan are negotiating an agreement that would allow some U.S. forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond the end of the NATO mission, but unresolved issues include how many and there specific role.

Kerry said Obama "was committed to not allow America's investment and the sacrifice here to be reversed," adding that "the United States will still be playing a role and will be here through the course of this future period."

Meanwhile, the former commander of the international military force in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. John Allen, said Monday that the war there would continue after foreign troops conclude their combat mission by the end of 2014.

 "On the first of January, there's still going to be fighting in 2015. There's still going to be fighting in Afghanistan," Allen told a conference at the Brookings Institution.

He added that Afghanistan would "join a long and distinguished list of countries that will be struggling in a post-conflict environment where it will have an insurgency in some parts of that country for an extended period of time."

Kerry landed in Kabul on Monday afternoon and met with Karzai at the presidential palace before the news conference that lasted almost an hour. The two were to talk further over dinner and perhaps again on Tuesday morning, Kerry said.

Earlier Monday, the United States handed over control of a U.S.-run prison near Bagram Air Base to Afghan authorities.

Karzai called the development a major boost for the transition, while Kerry emphasized several times that the agreement respected Afghanistan's sovereignty to operate the prison that holds Taliban figures.

The agreement includes provisions to give the United States a say on how some of the most notorious Taliban prisoners are handled. Karzai outlined a process in which U.S. officials provide intelligence to Afghan officials on specific prisoners, and further consultations follow if the Afghans want to set them free.

In a sign of the sensitivity of the issue, Karzai twice described the final step of the process as consultations, then changed his wording to "an exchange of views." He said that "I must use my words carefully."

"We will consider it," he said of a U.S. request to keep particular prisoners in custody, adding that Afghan law would call for such handling of anyone posing a legitimate threat.

The matter touches on a politically charged situation for Karzai, who is criticized by the Taliban and other foes for the continuing presence of the NATO forces in the country.

The handover deal was reached Saturday, but came a full year after the initial plan was announced by U.S and Afghan authorities.

An initial plan called for the prison and detainees to be handed over within six months, but in September, the United States "paused" the transfer of detainees, which include suspected Taliban militants and insurgents.

Other tensions between the countries involve continuing violence, such as a bomb blast in Kabul this month that killed nine people. Karzai said afterward that there are "ongoing daily talks between the Taliban, Americans and foreigners in Europe and in the Gulf states."

The comment effectively claimed the United States was trying to foment continued violence inside Afghanistan, and it was quickly denounced by NATO and U.S. officials.

Some experts say Karzai's comments were fueled by frustration over the detention facility not being handed over sooner, which he viewed as an attack on his country's sovereignty.

During the news conference, Kerry repeatedly referred to Afghanistan's sovereignty in the transition process as the NATO military force turns over leadership of combat operations to Afghanistan's military, which it has trained in recent years.

Under an agreement between the Afghan government and NATO, the bulk of U.S. and NATO combat forces are to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. What remains to be decided is how many troops may remain to help train Afghan forces.

The trip was Kerry's first visit to Afghanistan as secretary of state, but the former senator's sixth during Obama's presidency.

He was in Iraq over the weekend to press that nation's leaders to take steps prohibiting Iranian planes from delivering arms to Syria's besieged government. Last week, Kerry joined Obama on a trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.


Filed under: Security Brief
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. blingking12765

    Reblogged this on blingking12765 and commented:
    He said media reports misinterpreted his comments to mean he was accusing the Taliban and United States of collusion. Karzai outlined a process in which U. What remains to be decided is how many troops may remain to help train Afghan forces. The US need to stop giving aid to afghan. No more freebies as US citizens are suffering for their cause. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people. Without it my week would not seem complete. Kerry should remind how and for what he was criticizing Bush during his presidential election and today he is following his footsteps on Afghan front. Very sad and tragic for the future of the world. Then they cry and whine when the oppressed peoples of Islam strike out against them in retaliation. An old American saying comes to my mind. Taliban are just wrong in every sense in the world. First of all stop wearing skirts that hang down past your knee. Education for everyone in this world and that education has to come from the world within which we live. Pakistan has invited terrorists from sixty countries since cold world war. Pakistan helped Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda thugs to establish terror network and killed thousands of Shia people. Most decent people avoid to deal with Pakistani business owners due to their connections with terrorist groups. If your going to fight a war then destroy your target. But WE are who everybody calls. We are not perfect but we are certainly trying more than you. So take your blame and shove it up your handheld rocket launcher. Instead of going to the people of his country it stacks up in his bank account. You have iframes disabled or your browser does not support them. I had to go through with my head in the clouds and my self on the move. You should have slowed down you should have done more for you you should have taken back the things that you do and went forward more slowly on the longer dam ride and believed me I know it we both friggen tried to enjoy it but the harder we tried the faster it went and we both kinda lied if we thought we where getting to where we getting to. So if you ever did get there please let me know.Before You Go
    Posted by Bling King Feb 25th 2012
    Category: Poetry
    Options: Edit Delete UnFeature Views: 267

    Believe me it's me and before you go remember what I told you about moving to slow. You should have sped up you should have moved quick the faster you move the more life's a trip. The more life's a trip the more you move fast and after it all you can never go back. I loved life myself. I had to go through with my head in the clouds and my self on the move. I thought I would get there I just didn't dam know that the faster you went the faster it'd go. You should have slowed down you should have done more for you you should have taken back the things that you do and went forward more slowly on the longer dam ride and believed me I know it we both friggen tried to enjoy it but the harder we tried the faster it went and we both kinda lied if we thought we where getting to where we getting to. So if you ever did get there please let me know. If I got there the answer is a big F'n no I got basically to where everyone go. The end of the end the place they call death and I knew when I got there like everyone says you could have done if differently and if you F'n knew you probably would have done it differently too. Together we made it though through all the past together we made it let's neither look back. I wouldn't look back cause I know what I'll do have as many regrets as as many of you. If you say no regrets to this very day I would honestly say I'm completely dismayed. I have had so many regrets and as much as that is my life's going on and I'm only in my 30's still yet.

    April 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  2. OWL

    US soldiers died to free Afghan and now Karzai says US is partner with the taliban. This kid is a joke. The US need to stop giving aid to afghan. Everything should now be a charged to the Afghan, if they still need assisstance. No more freebies as US citizens are suffering for their cause.

    March 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  3. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015. ha ha ha

    March 27, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Reply
    • Richard

      Thanks for your tripe. Without it my week would not seem complete.

      March 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  4. dan

    Sounds like he is wanting a few more million than he has already put in his pocket in the last few years.

    March 27, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  5. Bangash

    Fact is fact which no one including Karzai can change. Afghans see what American have done during last 12 years occupation. What Karzai had said was unavoidable for him as he had nothing to show his nation during his 12 years rule except rising death tolls and continued bloodshed. Kerry should remind how and for what he was criticizing Bush during his presidential election and today he is following his footsteps on Afghan front. Very sad and tragic for the future of the world.

    March 27, 2013 at 10:54 am | Reply
  6. Concerned Citizen of the Earth

    The United States has killed almost as many innocent Muslims as the Nazi's killed innocent Jews. They torture, rape, maim, and sodomize "Suspects", then hold them without charges in a far away location for an indeterminate period of time. Many will be killed, or die of neglect, abuse, or simply disappear. If any other country in the world did what the US is doing now there would be war crime charges, UN sanctions, Embargos, and eveerything else that goes with stopping that kind of insanity. Since the United States is the so called "Leader of the free World" it's a do as I say and not as I do mentality the zionist infidels have developed. Then they cry and whine when the oppressed peoples of Islam strike out against them in retaliation. The Muslim people have been victims of their abuse, racial profiling, torture, and targeted attacks long enough.

    In the Nobel Qur'an under Surat Al Buruj 85-10; Indeed, those who have tortured the believing men and believing women and then have not repented will have the punishment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the Burning Fire.
    and
    Muhsin Khan: Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women (by torturing them and burning them), and then do not turn in repentance, (to Allah), will have the torment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the burning Fire.

    All this wrong doing that the zionist infidels are perpetrating against innocent Muslims will come back to rest on their heads. An old American saying comes to my mind... Someday, the chickens will come home to roost... Although I always believed if my chickens were to come home to roost it would be a good thing as you have not lost any, apparently there it is not!

    March 26, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Reply
    • me

      You sound like the Taliban and that's not a good thing.

      March 27, 2013 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • Redneck Canuck

      I think you really don't get the sense of legitimacy these nut jobs believe. If you are not a Muhammad loving jihadi you are a "Kufir". Quoted from the jihadi rules of engagement (Quran) it ok to do this to the Kufir >>>

      "Seize them and slay them wherever ye get them: in their case we have provided you with a clear argument against them." [4: 91]

      "I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers." [8: 12]

      "They shall have a curse on them: wherever they are found." [33: 61]

      Sounds like they aren't a very tolerant crowd eh? I have an idea; you should fly over there and explain how its all been a mistake and we are sorry for not being believers ok?

      March 27, 2013 at 6:58 am | Reply
    • OO7°``

      You sound like an al-Qaeda terrorist who is pis sed because his suicide vest did not go off. If you want to die so badly, take a towel (like the one on your head) and hang yourself.

      March 27, 2013 at 8:55 am | Reply
  7. me

    Its all about the people, let them get educated in schools for a generation, it will take care of itself, with a kick in the pants or a drone strike. Taliban are just wrong in every sense in the world. I mean you make China's style of communism, look like a Stalin's communism, and we all know that didn't work out well for the Russian people. First of all stop wearing skirts that hang down past your knee. Now that's not a good look for me, the Taliba had better come to the table orr they will have to be eliminated. You see in our world we don't like killers and any religion that says it okay HAS Got to Go. Education for everyone in this world and that education has to come from the world within which we live....
    Not from one mans imagination, da da da dats all folks.

    March 26, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • me

      Forgive my grammactical errors, forgot the damn spellcheck

      March 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  8. joe

    This double talking snake is no better then the war lord terrorists in his private little Afghan club of millionaires. We ABSOLUTELY NEED TO STOP SENDING THIS GUY MONEY

    March 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  9. RetiredVet

    We need to leave corrupt Karzai to fend for himself without our troops and our money.

    March 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • BigShiz

      And then it becomes a haven for al-Qaeda once again(there are no easy solutions).

      March 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Reply
      • OO7°``

        There is one solution. H-bomb there a s s back to where they came from: H E L L

        March 27, 2013 at 9:00 am |
      • BigShiz

        007,no one cares about your ignorant troll nonsense.

        March 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  10. South Asia Observer

    Pakistan is the root of all terror. Pakistan has invited terrorists from sixty countries since cold world war.
    Through her history, army generals overthrew Pakistan's democratic governments, Musharraf and his cronies installed a brutal Haqani network. Pakistan helped Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda thugs to establish terror network and killed thousands of Shia people.

    During war on terrors, evil Pakistan supported high ranking al Qaeda crooks and killed millions of Afghan people. In 2013, Pakistan, is the only country ever, where army attacked her own citizens, killing 100 shia people.
    Now Pakistan, nick named "Bandit Country" by her own local politician, is a failed state with huge debt, corruption, plagued with Wahhabism. Most decent people avoid to deal with Pakistani business owners due to their connections with terrorist groups. Pakistani living abroad identifying themselves as Indians that is how bad the name Pakistan has become since it separation from South Asian economic super power India

    March 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • Redneck Canuck

      BINGO!!!!!

      March 27, 2013 at 7:05 am | Reply
  11. Sophie

    Since the Afghans can now handle the situation, then we should speed up troop withdrawal, and exit, because we have done enough. We should not continue meddling and helping a nation, that wants to be independent. I hope Karzai can get the next President for Afghanistan in peace mode with the Taliban and all violent offenders, in the area. The number one rule is NO Violence, none. Not on any level, that includes torture.

    March 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  12. john smith

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington

    In 2004, with the war in Iraq going from bad to worse, the US drafted in a veteran of Central America's dirty wars to help set up a new force to fight the insurgency. The result: secret detention centres, torture and a spiral into sectarian carnage.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:44 am | Reply
    • 1371usmc

      Too bad they didn't go far enough

      March 26, 2013 at 6:55 am | Reply
      • BigShiz

        Once again your hatred of a entire people has nothing to do with our security or warfare. Your infected with America's biggest problem,bigotry.

        March 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • BigShiz

      John Smith and 1371usmc are examples of extremists,if we let them extremists will destroy are country with there BS.

      March 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
      • 1371usmc

        The point is if your going to run a police action then lock it down. If your going to fight a war then destroy your target. Their is no in-between or that's what you got now a big mess.

        March 26, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
      • BigShiz

        If your going to occupy a country you have to work with the people. You can't win a war only through attrition(that's been true throughout history). You should read the art of war,you would learn a lot.

        March 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  13. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    March 26, 2013 at 3:42 am | Reply
    • Michelle

      Hey "john smith". Guess what, we got attacked in 2001. Did you forget that you didnt know our face in your geography prior to that? Guess what else, all these little countries ask for our help, then when we help, and jump in and get in the mud of the fight when no one else does, then gee the world can sit back so clean and say "oh those hateful americans". But WE are who everybody calls. We are not perfect but we are certainly trying more than you. So take your blame and shove it up your handheld rocket launcher. And i agree with the troop withdrawals, but you needed to be corrected.

      March 26, 2013 at 7:41 am | Reply
    • OO7°``

      You profound re tard al-Qaeda terrorist not-holy-jihad extremist dumb loser! Do the civilized world a favor and save us a bullet by killing yourself.

      March 27, 2013 at 9:11 am | Reply
  14. Jaimie

    karzai Has been lining his pockets with USA money for years. Instead of going to the people of his country it stacks up in his bank account.

    March 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Karsai is a fraud! Yes, he has become personally very wealthy by pocketing aid money we have sent for other purposes. How many poppy farmers were coverted to growing vegitables? We sent millions to achive this! Nothing ever happened. Karsai's relatives are still in the opium business protected by Karsai's police!

      March 26, 2013 at 8:01 am | Reply
  15. George Patton-2

    Hopefully, the Karzai regime may end the wanton torture of political prisoners once the Bagram base is handed over to it. The torturing of political prisoners must be outlawed everywhere, including Guantanamo once and for all! This is truly a national disgrace!!!

    March 25, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • George Patton

      what is your problem #2? Do you have a brother locked up somewhere?

      March 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Reply
      • OO7°``

        His bro is tide up in the toilet after eating some bad tabouli.

        March 27, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • 1371usmc

      Close it down????? Hell we are looking to double its size in two years then do remodel on Alcatraz to hold more.

      March 25, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Reply
      • BigShiz

        You really think torture works? If it did I would be all for it but most of the time it results in misinformation. Retribution isn't good for intel.

        March 26, 2013 at 2:39 am |
      • OO7°``

        I like the way you think.

        March 27, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Bangash

      Thanks George Patton 2 for speaking the truth.

      March 27, 2013 at 10:47 am | Reply

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