Karzai mulling sidestepping US with own Taliban

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is said to have lost confidence in the US led foreign forces’ ability to reign in al Qaeda and the Taliban.

New York: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is said to have lost confidence in the US led foreign forces’ ability to reign in al Qaeda and the Taliban, and is trying to strike a deal on his own with the insurgents to bring peace and stability in the war tattered country.

According to former Afghanistan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, who along with Interior Minister Hanif Atmar, resigned from the post after a heated meeting with Karzai last week, the President is trying to reach out to the extremists on his own to end the decades old bloody insurgency.

During the meeting, which was called to discuss the Taliban attack on the peace ‘jirga’ held in Kabul last week, Karzai suggested that the attack might have been carried out by the US, as he threw out the evidence tabled before him by the intelligence chief.

“The president did not show any interest in the evidence, none, he treated it like a piece of dirt,” The New York Times quoted Saleh, as saying.

Saleh and other Afghan officials, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, pointed out that Karzai has actually lost faith in both the US and NATO’s ability to control the Taliban menace, and is trying to manage things on his own by striking a deal with the insurgents.

Karzai has been pressing to strike his own deal with the Taliban and the country’s archrival, Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime supporter, said Saleh and other officials.

Sources said Saleh is also deeply concerned by Karzai’s noticeably ‘softer’ attitude towards Pakistan.

“The president has long dropped his past habit of excoriating Pakistan for aiding the Taliban,” they said.

“The president has lost his confidence in the capability of either the coalition or his own government to protect this country. President Karzai has never announced that NATO will lose, but the way that he does not proudly own the campaign shows that he doesn’t trust it is working,” Saleh had said during an interview after he resigned from the post.

However, western officials believe that there may be ‘politics’ involved in the whole issue rather than just the ‘Karzai losing hope” theory.

According to a western diplomat, who is currently stationed in Kabul, Karzai has been simmering with anger since the last elections, the legitimacy of which was questioned by the US.

“Karzai told me that he can’t trust the Americans to fix the situation here. He believes they stole his legitimacy during the elections last year. And then they said publicly that they were going to leave,” the newspaper quoted the diplomat, as saying.