US-Karzai relationship is 'solid'

2010-09-02 20:07

Kabul - The top US military commander in Afghanistan says the sometimes strained relationship between the US and Afghan President Hamid Karzai is solid.

General David Petraeus says Karzai shares US concerns about corruption in his country.

Petraeus acknowledged "friction" over the case of a close Karzai aide arrested this summer in a corruption probe. The aide was released after Karzai intervened.

Petraeus says he heard Karzai assure US President Barack Obama that he will back the work of US-sponsored anti-corruption investigators.

The US has said it views the case of Mohammed Zia Salehi as a test of Karzai's willingness to take on graft and sleaze in his government.

Salehi was arrested by Afghan police after allegedly being wiretapped discussing a bribe. He called Karzai from his prison cell in July and was freed hours later.

Soon afterward Karzai blasted the work of the US-backed corruption investigators involved in that case and sought more control over them.

"President Karzai is the first to note that more has to be done," about corruption overall, Petraeus told reporters on Thursday. He said "friction" over the Salehi case has been resolved.

"It's a relationship in which there is candour," Petraeus said. "We do not always come at every issue from the same perspective but I think that's a reflection of the strength of the relationship."