Karzai outburst may jeopardize his US trip.
Wed, 07 Apr 2010 | PressTV
The United States has said it might call off an upcoming visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, if he persists in making anti-Western statements.
President Barack Obama had invited Karzai to visit Washington on May 12, but White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (picture) said Tuesday that a series of "troubling and confusing remarks" by the Afghan leader have raised questions about the value of such a meeting.
"We certainly would evaluate whatever continued or further remarks President Karzai makes" to determine whether the meeting should take place, Gibbs said.
Only days after a visit by Obama to Afghanistan, Karzai on Friday launched an unprecedented verbal attack against "foreigners" in his country, accusing them of perpetrating election fraud, bribing officials and trying to weaken his government.
He added that the Western occupying forces in Afghanistan only pined for a "puppet government" in Kabul.
The Afghan president further irritated the Obama administration on Sunday when he told a group of local officials that the US-led alliance will not make any military moves in the southern province of Kandahar unless the Afghan people and tribal leaders support it.
Karzai and many Afghan tribal elders were at odds with Washington's war policy over the high numbers of civilian casualties inflicted by US-led forces particularly in the ongoing Marjah offensive which began on February 13.
Despite having incurred the West's ire, Karzai said he stood by his remarks and on Tuesday aggravated Washington by singling it out specifically for blame and threatening to step down and join the Taliban if outside pressure on his government continues.
Initially the White House sought to play down Karzai's comments as placations to his domestic audience, but in recent days the Obama administration has taken a tougher line.
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan caused by attacks carried out by Western coalition forces have fueled anti-US sentiment in the country.
There are currently over 120,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, and the US and its NATO allies have announced the imminent deployment of 30,000 more troops.
However, the US and NATO appear to have no clear exit strategy.
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