News Analysis: President Karzai at loggerhead with western backers

10:39, April 04, 2010      

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai by accusing his western backers of involvement in vote rigging in the last August's presidential elections on Thursday, took foes and friends into surprise.

The beleaguered president, almost after seven months of August' s controversial election which led to his re-election, visited the country's Election Commission office on April 1 and lashed at his western backers, the United States and the European Union, over what he described interference in Afghan affairs during the polls.

"Undoubtedly massive frauds were practiced in the presidential and parliamentary elections, but these frauds were not done by Afghans, but it was foreigners who did it," the state-run English daily The Kabul Times on Saturday quoted the president as saying.

"The foreigners should know that they are encountering vis--vis the Afghan laws and by creating discord among the people and foundations of Afghanistan they are not doing a proper job," the newspaper quoted the president as saying.

"In case we cannot preserve our independence and national sovereignty and exemplify this in practice, the possibility all the time exists that the cooperation would change into occupation and insurgency would change into resistance," Karzai, according to the mere state-owned English newspaper, said during his visit to the election body's office.

Singling out U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, the then deputy head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan ( UNAMA), and Phillippe Morillon, head of the European Union Mission, Karzai had accused the two of plotting to put a puppet government in power.

Karzai, whose administration has been largely dependent on civilian and military aid of the international community particularly the United States, said the "foreigners want the parliament to be weakened and battered, and for me to be an ineffective president and for parliament to be ineffective."

Karzai reportedly asserted that foreigners are trying to stop holding the parliamentary elections scheduled for Sept. 18.

The harsh and surprising remarks, made by the Afghan president, depicts a rift between Kabul and its main supporter -- the U.S.- led allied nations.

The unexpected comments by Karzai took place after U.S. President Barack Obama's surprise visit to Kabul last Sunday.

During his few hours visit to Afghanistan, Obama asked his Afghan counterpart to fight corruption -- a stigma that has tarnished the image of the Afghan government, to improve security and to eliminate poppy production.

The stern allegation has disturbed Washington as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Ekinberry has reportedly sought explanation from Karzai.

White House, according to media reports, would review the visit of Karzai to Washington set for May 12 during Obama's tour to Kabul.

Observers are of the view that revealing foreigners' intervention in the Afghan election by Karzai after seven months is questionable.

The result of the fraud-tinted presidential election held on Aug. 20 was announced almost one and a half months after the voting enabled Karzai to rule the country for the second five-year term.

His main challenger Abdullah Abdullah who described the whole voting process as fraud organized by state machinery also described Karzai's voice against the international community as against national interest.

Meanwhile, some circles describe president Karzai's remarks as the April fool, saying the president would had better served the national interest and as well international one if disclosed the malpractice during election days.

However, many are of the view that president Karzai's remarks speak of appearing crack in his relations with Washington and put him at loggerhead with his international allies.



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