Karzai tells US: exit timetable has boosted insurgency

President Hamid Karzai has condemned repeated pronouncements by the US administration that a drawdown of troops from Afghanistan will start in less than a year, warning that such a timeline gives "a morale boost" to the Taliban.

The Afghan president also stated that the insurgency cannot be defeated as long as it continues to enjoy safe havens across the border in Pakistan where it enjoys the support of elements of the military.

While authorising the "surge" of US forces in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama stipulated that withdrawal of troops must begin by July 2011. Prime minister David Cameron has also declared that the British contingent would be home by 2015. Mr Karzai's concern that giving such deadlines sends the wrong message to the enemy echoes the widely held views of US and British military commanders. General David Petraeus, appointed by President Obama as head of Nato forces in Afghanistan, has already stated that he may oppose the July pullout.

Speaking to a group of visiting members of the US Congress in Kabul, Mr Karzai said progress had been made in rebuilding the country after decades of war. But the progress of the war was being hampered by Nato's public statements on pulling out, civilian casualties caused by Western military operations and a lack of focus on "destroying the terrorists' refuge" across the border in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, it emerged yesterday that one of Mr Karzai's senior security aides, arrested by an anti-corruption task force and then released after the Afghan president intervened, has been on the CIA payroll. Mohammed Zia Salehi is the latest figure close to Mr Karzai to be linked with US intelligence. Congressional documents in Washington revealed that the President's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, a highly influential power broker in Kandahar who has been accused of making money from the drug trade, was also a CIA "asset".

Relations between Mr Karzai and the US rapidly deteriorated with President Obama taking office. Members of his administration had repeatedly criticised the Afghan president, in particular, over the prevalence of corruption. The disclosure that the CIA had been secretly paying some of the most prominent figures accused of that very corruption is being viewed as an example of Western hypocrisy.

US newspapers have claimed that a whole range of senior officials in the Afghan government, some of them suspected of widespread malpractice, have been receiving money from the US.

Mr Karzai's national security adviser, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, denied that Afghan officials were on the CIA's payroll. He said: "It is a crime if someone directly takes money from foreign intelligence agencies as their employee. We don't."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
Life and Style
techSweet Peach says scent 'shows more important things are working'
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Ashdown Group: IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Ashdown Group: Junior Reports Developer / Application Support Engineer

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Recruitment Genius: Client Support Officer

£10 - £11 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The candidate must be committed, engag...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible