US Afghanistan commander defends Karzai
Last Updated: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 22:59
Berlin: The commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, said on Wednesday he was convinced that President Hamid Karzai was making the "right efforts" to stabilise his country.

Following a damaging recent rift between Washington and Kabul, the US general said the Afghan president had impressed him on a joint visit to the northern city of Kunduz this month.

"After my visit to Kunduz with President Karzai, I became convinced that he is focused on taking the right efforts, particularly on governance, that will support the security and development efforts in the year ahead," he said.

"I think that President Karzai is taking appropriate steps for a political leader to try to bring all the parts of his population together... to participate in the political process."

McChrystal was speaking to reporters in Berlin after talks with German Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

Tensions ran high earlier this month after Karzai claimed that foreign powers had orchestrated fraud in last year's elections. But top US officials have moved to defuse the row.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington considered the president a "reliable partner" while Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Karzai had "a very positive relationship" with McChrystal.


First Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2010, 22:59

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