Karzai Accuses U.S. of Taliban Collusion as Hagel Visits By Gopal Ratnam – Mar 10, 2013 6:05 PM ET Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was greeted on his first visit to Afghanistan since taking office by suicide bombs, threats and Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s accusation that the U.S. is colluding with the Taliban. As Hagel prepared to leave a U.S. military compound in Kabul on March 9, a Taliban suicide bomber blew himself up outside the Ministry of Defense, and another suicide bomb detonated in Khost province. Yesterday, Karzai said that those attacks, which together killed 19 people, aided U.S. goals. A joint Hagel-Karzai press conference at the presidential palace was canceled for what Pentagon officials said were security reasons. Enlarge image U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that “it was not true that the United States was unilaterally working with the Taliban trying to negotiate anything.” Photographer: Jason Reed/Pool/Getty Images While the Taliban said the attacks were aimed at sending a message to Hagel that the insurgents remain a powerful force, Karzai said in a speech yesterday that the U.S. is holding peace talks with the radical Islamists and the bombs were in the “service of America.”The truth is the Afghans have been abandoned by the U. S. before. Once we used them, we left them alone without making sure they had proper support. They fell into civil war and the Pakistan supported Taliban controlled most of the country with a reign of tyranny and terror. Now Pakistan and the Taliban have arranged secret meetings with the U. S. in Qatar. It is understandable that Karzai is afraid of being left out of any deal. The Obama Administration denies that talks have occurred since they were suspended a year ago, but the denials are carefully worded. They do not say we are not considering or prepared to start talks unilaterally. Trusting this administration is like leaning on a cardboard cutout for support. It may look strong, but eventually you end up flat on your face. Karzai is taking a preemptive strike to distance himself from any such talks without him and send a message that he needs to be at the table, in my view.
President Karzai said during New Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s visit that the U.S. and Taliban were collaborating while the Taliban was setting off bombs by homicide/suicide agents. He went as far to say the bombs were at the service of the U.S. The typical reaction is that he has come unhinged. I am not so sure.