US envoy hits back at Karzai over anti-US remark
Last Updated: Monday, June 20, 2011, 15:40
Kabul: The US ambassador to Afghanistan publicly reproached Afghanistan's president on Monday for painting American forces here as occupiers and enemies one of the strongest signs yet that Afghanistan's international allies are no longer willing to excuse President Hamid Karzai's harangues as harmless domestic politicking.

US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry told university students and faculty in the western city of Herat that he felt the need to speak from his heart as he reaches the end of his two-year tour as ambassador. The words that came next were strongly critical of the Afghan president, without naming Karzai.

"I find occasional comments from some of your leaders hurtful and inappropriate," Eikenberry told the crowd according to a transcript of the speech.

In recent speeches, Karzai has said the US is in danger of becoming an occupying force, threatened to take unspecified "unilateral action" against international forces that conduct air strikes and accused international allies of undermining and corrupting his government.

The US envoy hit back hard.

"When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost in terms of lives and treasure, hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people... they are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here," Eikenberry said.

"Mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers, spouses of soldiers who have lost arms and legs, children of those who lost their lives in your country they ask themselves about the meaning of their loved one's sacrifice."


First Published: Monday, June 20, 2011, 15:40

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