Open duplicity: “Mr. Karzai often adopts dramatically different messages for domestic audiences, and takes a much harsher stance toward the coalition with his own people than he does in private and international meetings.”
Translation: “I hate you! I love you! I hate you! I need more foreign aid!”
“Karzai Blasts Coalition as Insurgents Attack Kabul,” by Rod Nordland and Ray Rivera for the New York Times, June 18:
KABUL, Afghanistan “” President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan launched a broadside against his coalition allies on Saturday, saying the motives behind their presence were suspect and even complaining that their weaponry is polluting his country.
Mr. Karzai denied earlier reports “” including from his own statements “” that his government was negotiating with Taliban leaders, but he said that the Americans were doing so. American officials have never publicly acknowledged such talks, and the Taliban have denied them categorically.
“You remember a few years ago I was saying thank you to the foreigners for their help, every minute we were thanking them. Now I have stopped saying that, except when Spanta forced me to say thank you,” he said, referring in a jocular way to his national security adviser, Rangin Spanta, who was present. Mr. Karzai made the remarks as part of an address to the Afghanistan Youth International Conference, an audience of young to middle-aged adults, and in response to questions from the audience. “They”re here for their own purposes, for their own goals and they”re using our soil for that.”
The Afghan president made his remarks as a battle was fought in a busy downtown wholesale market between an unknown number of gunmen and Afghan security forces. Two Afghan police officers were killed in the afternoon skirmish fought at the Mandavi market, said Gen. Mohammad Salngi, the police chief of Kabul Province. Two would-be suicide bombers were killed before they could detonate their vests, the general said.
The other major report out of Kabul so far today had suicide bombers in army uniforms attacking a police station.
Afghan soldiers were brought in from nearby Kapisa Province to help in the battle at the market, one of the busiest shopping sections in the capital where businessmen come to buy wholesale foods, textiles and other goods. Soldiers were seen dragging the dead body of one of the gunmen, who appeared to be shot through the chest and the right eye. The gunman was wearing an Afghan uniform.
In his remarks, Mr. Karzai complained of the environmental damage from coalition weapons.
“Every time when their planes fly it makes smoke, when they drop bombs they have chemical materials in them, our people get killed but also our environment is damaged,” Mr. Karzai said. Some weapons used by the foreign forces have nuclear components, he said, and that issue was under investigation. He apparently was referring to certain types of ammunition and armor that use uranium or other radioactive materials, although he gave no specifics.
“There are 140 countries here in our country, they”re using different explosive materials, chemical materials and all these things. We will talk to them and ask them about all these things because this has a negative impact on our environment, our animals, our people, so we will ask them about this. They should not think we are uneducated and do not know anything.”
There are actually 48 NATO and allied countries with forces in Afghanistan.
Mr. Karzai also complained about the damage done by NATO trucks to Afghan roads, many of which have been improved with NATO aid. “They have not built the roads for us but for themselves, with their big trucks, with big heavy tires and chains, so as much as they help our country, they get it back more than a hundred times.” The heavy pollution of Kabul, too, was a consequence of the foreign presence in Afghanistan, he suggested.
The president’s address was broadcast live on RTA, the state television network. Mr. Karzai often adopts dramatically different messages for domestic audiences, and takes a much harsher stance toward the coalition with his own people than he does in private and international meetings. Nonetheless, such an approach challenges the coalition’s counter-insurgency approach, which emphasizes improving relations with ordinary Afghans….