WikiLeaks hurt US-Afghan ties: Afghan minister

Afghanistan`s Finance Minister warned on Saturday that the release of leaked US diplomatic cables will hurt US-Afghan relations, and he denied a report that he called President Hamid Karzai and "extremely weak man."

Kabul: Afghanistan`s Finance Minister warned on Saturday that the release of leaked US diplomatic cables
will hurt US-Afghan relations, and he denied a report that he called President Hamid Karzai and "extremely weak man."

Afghan Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said it will no longer be "business as usual" between key Afghan ministers and US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry.

Zakhilwal said he never called Karzai "an extremely weak man" as reported in a US Embassy cable dated February 26, 2010.

The report is "absolutely, categorically wrong and false," Zakhilwal said.

Details from a vast tranche of cables released by the WikiLeaks website portray Afghanistan as rife with graft to the highest levels of government. The leaks could further erode support for the nine-year war and bolster the concerns of US lawmakers who have threatened to hold back aid until they are convinced the money will not end up lining the pockets of the political elite.
Karzai`s spokesman, Waheed Omar, has said that the presidential office was reviewing the documents, but that he did not believe they would strain US-Afghan relations. He could not immediately be reached for comment today.

Bureau Report

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