Share This Page

Complaints in hand, Karzai heads to U.S.

| Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, 9:40 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday said that terrorism won't be defeated 'by attacking Afghan villages and Afghan homes.' AFP | Getty Images

KABUL, Afghanistan — When Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington this week, he'll bring with him a list of complaints he has enumerated for months in public speeches ­— accusations that the United States has fomented corruption in Afghanistan and continues to violate the country's sovereignty.

Karzai's top advisers say he has been forced to go public because meetings with U.S. officials here have yielded no progress on the issues he values most. Now he'll share the list of grievances with a U.S. president in the midst of disentangling the military from its longest war.

The prospect of a diminished U.S. presence in Afghanistan has not dulled the tone of Karzai's critique, even though he claims to want a long-term American security footprint here. That footprint would be welcomed, his advisers say, but only if it is accompanied by concessions on a number of seemingly intractable issues.

“The world needs us more than we need them,” said Abdul Karim Khurram, Karzai's chief of staff.

Karzai wants U.S. officials to stop approving contracts “with warlords who use the money for their own gains,” according to his spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

Karzai said in a speech last month that corruption is “imposed on us, and it is meant to weaken our system” — an assertion roundly rejected by U.S. officials in Afghanistan.

Karzai wants a full handover of the Parwan military prison, which U.S. officials approved last year but later rescinded, saying it appeared that Afghan officials were planning to release a slew of suspected terrorists.

He also wants a stronger Afghan air force, an end to U.S. military operations in villages and a guarantee that his country will be protected from cross-border incursions, particularly by Pakistan-based insurgents.

As Karzai presses those demands, he and his advisers have extended their critique to the larger legacy of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan, which they say have failed to deliver security, despite the billions of dollars spent.

“The war has been fought in a very incorrect manner. ... It didn't improve the situation, but it worsened it,” Khurram said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.