Karzai's paranoid fantasy of US, Taliban 'cooperation'
A news conference between Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai was canceled Sunday on the heels of the Afghan leader's accusation that the Taliban and the U.S. are working together to convince Afghans that violence in the country will worsen if foreign troops leave as planned by the end of next year.The angst of our leaving him seems to be playing games with his mind. If anything this administration has been downplaying the threat of the Taliban upon our departure. Karzai seems to be losing his grip on reality. It is too bad he is going to be in office for a few more months.
U.S. officials say the news conference was canceled due to a security threat, but the two men plan to meet privately.
According to the Associated Press, the cancellation comes a day after a suicide bomber on a bicycle struck outside the Afghan Defense Ministry, killing nine Afghan civilians and wounding 14 others.
Pentagon press secretary George Little said the cancellation was not due to remarks Karzai made earlier accusing the Taliban and the U.S. of colluding to keep foreign troops in Afghanistan past the planned drawdown date -- an allegation the top commander in Afghanistan rejected as "categorically false."
Karzai said two suicide bombings that killed 19 people on Saturday -- one outside the Afghan Defense Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province -- show the insurgent group is conducting attacks to help show that international forces will still be needed to keep the peace after their current combat mission ends in 2014.
"We have fought too hard over the past 12 years, we have shed too much blood over the last 12 years, to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage," Dunford said.
Karzai, who reportedly makes incendiary comments in his public speeches, a move that is often attributed to him trying to appeal to those who sympathize with the Taliban or as a way to gain leverage when he feels his international allies are ignoring his country's sovereignty. In previous speeches, he has threatened to join the Taliban and called his NATO allies occupiers who want to plunder Afghanistan's resources.