Afghan govt hits back at Nato chief

2013-03-19 22:15

Kabul - The Afghan government has hit back at remarks by the head of Nato, who said Kabul must recognise the sacrifices made by other states, calling the alliance's war on terrorism in Afghanistan "aimless and unwise".

In the latest outburst of vitriol from the Afghan leadership deriding its Western allies, the spokesperson for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the people of Afghanistan "ask Nato to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror".

"As they question why after a decade, this war in their country has failed to achieve its stated goals, but rather has resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives and destruction of their homes", Aimal Faizi said in a statement.

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he was concerned about the increasingly harsh rhetoric between Karzai and the US, which contributes the largest contingent to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan.

He told a news conference in Brussels that "we would also expect acknowledgement from the Afghan side that we have... invested a lot in blood and treasure in helping President Karzai's country to move forward".

More than 3 000 foreign troops from 50 countries have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led military intervention began in 2001.

Some estimates put the cost to the United States alone of the Afghan war in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Speaking to the state news agency, BIA, Faizi said: "The people of Afghanistan ask Nato secretary general that while it is clearly known to Nato that terrorism sanctuaries are outside Afghanistan, why this war then continues in their homes and villages unproductively?"

"Therefore, the Afghan people consider this war as aimless and unwise to continue," he said.

War of words

Karzai marred a debut visit to Afghanistan by the new US defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, last week by accusing Washington and the Taliban of colluding to convince Afghans that foreign forces were needed beyond 2014, when Nato is set to wrap up its combat mission and most foreign troops are to withdraw.

Washington denies the accusation, and found support from Rasmussen who said the allegation was "absolutely ridiculous".

Karzai's remarks further strained already fraught ties between the president and the Western allies who are fighting to protect his government from insurgents.

The US still has 66 000 troops in Afghanistan, down from almost 100 000 two years ago at the height of a surge ordered by President Barack Obama.

Washington intends to withdraw most of them by the end of next year but wants to negotiate a continued, smaller presence.

Karzai has been increasingly assertive towards the US. Last month, he ordered US special forces to leave Wardak province after residents complained that they, and Afghans working with them, were torturing and killing civilians, an allegation denied by the Americans.

Opposition politicians saw Karzai's order as a political move to bolster his party's support base ahead of a presidential election next year. Karzai is not allowed to stand again.

"As every day passes, our relations with the international community get worse. Whenever President Karzai makes some remarks against Americans, money goes out of the country and businessmen leave," Ahmad Zia Massoud, leader of the Afghan National Front opposition alliance, told Reuters.

He said as tension had risen between Washington and Kabul in the past year, and as Afghanistan prepared to go it alone, about $4.5bn had poured out of the country and into Dubai where worried Afghans are building homes.

  • Peter Zylstra - 2013-03-20 06:42

    Why does the western nations pour so much money into a useless dysfunctional state! They should withdraw their troops and let the Afghans look after themselves with whatever military and financials means they have.

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-20 10:12

      The Orwellian "war on terror" has been very successful both economically (for the Military Industrial Complex) and in making the U.S population afraid of its own shadow and therefore willing to give up liberty for security.

  • Kennedy Mataruse - 2013-03-20 07:51

    the problem is dat,some people wont see that America's supriority is fading in everything.why cant America adimit it?

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-20 10:23

      One day, the king of ancient Babylon summoned his treasury overseer and exclaimed, "I need more money to wage war on those Hittite terrorists. "I looked in the great treasure chest and it's nearly empty. There are hardly any gold coins left," he thundered. "Oh Light of the Euphrates," grovelled his terrified minister, "we are out of gold. Your wars have become too expensive." "But I have a solution, your celestial greatness. We will quietly trim the amount of gold in our imperial gold coins to make them go further. No one will notice." Fast forward to Washington, 2013, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose!

  • AllcoveredinNinjas - 2013-03-20 08:35

    Mr Karzai and his friends need to learn what humility is , when your people seek to leave as the US leaves then its shameful to use polemic that he is employing. This is the best oppertunity to become more than a net exporter of heroine .

  • Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-20 10:04

    "ask Nato to define the purpose and aim of the so-called war on terror". An outgoing pentagon general, Jeh Johnson , has commented on this issue saying that the War on Terror must, at some point, come to an end. "Now that efforts by the US military against al-Qaida are in their 12th year, we must also ask ourselves: How will this conflict end. 'War' must be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs. We must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the 'new normal.' Peace must be regarded as the norm toward which the human race continually strives. "There will come a tipping point at which so many of the leaders and operatives of al-Qaida and its affiliates have been killed or captured, and the group is no longer able to attempt or launch a strategic attack against the United States, that al-Qaida will be effectively destroyed."

      Fidel Chavista - 2013-03-20 10:11

      MSNBC's Rachel Maddow who interviewed Johnson, opined as follows: "When does this thing we are in now end? And if it does not have an end — and I'm not speaking as a lawyer here, I am just speaking as a citizen who feels morally accountable for my country's actions — if it does not have an end, then morally speaking it does not seem like it is a war. And then, our country is killing people and locking them up outside the traditional judicial system in a way I think we maybe cannot be forgiven for." The Afghans are right, terror weapons used to fight an undeclared war; so not a war on terrorism, but a war OF terrorism.

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