No credibility in US leaked cables: Karzai

In one of the cables, US diplomats said one of Karzai`s deputies had transported USD 52 million out of the country in suitcases, a claim which Karzai rejected.

Updated: Dec 04, 2010, 20:34 PM IST

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday he doubted the credibility of US diplomatic cables
leaked this week by the Internet whistleblower WikiLeaks, which portrayed him as corrupt and weak.

At a news conference held with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Karzai said at least one of the incidents described in the cables could not have happened as described.

Other cables were an attempt by US officials to discredit him and his government, he told reporters.
In one of the cables, US diplomats said one of Karzai`s deputies had transported USD 52 million out of the
country in suitcases, a claim which Karzai rejected.

"The American government has been talking to us every day about corruption, every day they come and give us examples, every day they come and bring even a (corruption) case of 5,000 dollars," Karzai told reporters.

"How come they did not report to the president about 52 million dollars," he asked.

"So we don`t know what to do with this whole thing. Do we believe them, do we not believe them? And I would go towards not to believing them," he said, referring to the cables.

In another cable, US envoy Karl Eikenberry portrayed Karzai as "paranoid and weak," "unfamiliar with the basics of nation building" and "overly self-conscious" that his time of glowing reviews from the West had passed.

Karzai said Eikenberry`s statement was part of a "Western media" campaign against his administration.
"Negative things about me -- that`s not new... the Western media sometimes call me the mayor of Kabul," he said.

But Karzai defended his Finance Minister Hazrat Omar Zakhailwal, who according to another US cable had described Karzai as "a weak leader."

"I assure you that he has not said such thing to the Americans," Karzai said, pointing to Zakhailwal, who was present at today`s briefing.

Karzai accused US officials of attempts to "defame" the minister "because a while ago he had defamed them on the issue of the Kabul Bank," referring to a recent scandal involving Afghanistan`s biggest private bank.

Gilani, on the first day a two-day visit to Kabul, also downplayed the leaked US cables, saying they were merely the "views of junior officers."

He asked reporters "not to trust WikiLeaks... These are just some of the views of junior officers of some
observations," Gilani told reporters. "We should not take them seriously."

Bureau Report