It was only last month that we saw Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, ordering US troops out of a key area of his country. There’s clearly something going on with Karzai and his plans for the future, because now he’s claiming that we are somehow in league with the Taliban.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday accused the Taliban and the U.S. of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if most foreign troops leave — an allegation the top American 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 really don’t need to spend any time on the actual accusation being made here. The idea that the people who are actively trying to blow up our troops are doing so to give us cover to stay in the country longer is something straight out of a Stanley Kubrick film. The Taliban are attacking us because they will be quite happy to see the last of our troops leave so they can go back to running the country as they wish. (And frankly, at this point, I’ve already come to think they’re welcome to it.)
But what is Karzai up to? We don’t have any mind readers on staff, but a number of you readers have previously suggested that Hamid is simply setting the stage for his own exit and trying to lower the heat to the point where he can do so with his head still properly attached to his spine. I see little reason to doubt that this is part of his thinking, and little indication that there’s much more to it than that. As the CBS article points out, this isn’t really new behavior for him.
Karzai is known for making 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.
That’s some great propaganda in terms of politicking, but I suspect that it’s mostly falling on deaf ears. He’s been working hand in hand with the United States and our allies for some time now, and no amount of spin or dancing on the heads of pins is going to make the Taliban, their supporters or residual al Qaeda sympathizers forget about it. In fact, if things really go pear shaped toward the end, he might want to consider being a little nicer to us in case he needs a ride on the last chopper leaving Kabul.