US Afghanistan commander defends Karzai
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
"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
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.