An update on this story. Eikenberry still chooses his words carefully, and does not mention Karzai by name. Someone might do well to remind Karzai why he is in power in the first place, as he acts as though he had no U.S. help — and funding, funding, and more funding, so much of which has been lost to corruption — to get there and stay there. “US envoy reproaches Afghan president on criticism,” by Heidi Vogt for the Associated Press, June 19:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) “” The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan publicly reproached Afghanistan’s president Sunday for painting American forces here as occupiers and enemies “” one of the strongest signs yet that Afghanistan’s international allies are no longer willing to excuse President Hamid Karzai’s harangues as harmless domestic politicking.
U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry told university students and faculty in the western city of Herat that he felt the need to speak from his heart as he reaches the end of his two-year tour as ambassador. The words that came next were strongly critical of the Afghan president, without naming Karzai.
“I find occasional comments from some of your leaders hurtful and inappropriate,” Eikenberry told the crowd according to a transcript of the speech.
In recent speeches, Karzai has said the U.S. is in danger of becoming an occupying force, threatened to take unspecified “unilateral action” against international forces that conduct air strikes and accused international allies of undermining and corrupting his government.
The U.S. envoy hit back hard.
“When Americans, who are serving in your country at great cost in terms of lives and treasure, hear themselves compared with occupiers, told that they are only here to advance their own interest, and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people … they are filled with confusion and grow weary of our effort here,” Eikenberry said. “Mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers, spouses of soldiers who have lost arms and legs, children of those who lost their lives in your country “” they ask themselves about the meaning of their loved one’s sacrifice.”
Eikenberry’s tour as ambassador has been strained by his tense relationship with Karzai. In a classified memo in 2009, Eikenberry said that Karzai was not a reliable partner with whom to rebuild Afghanistan. The memo were leaked to the press, and Eikenberry has spent the time since trying to repair the fractured relationship. He has repeatedly insisted that he and Karzai work well and comfortably together.
Now, as he prepares to hand over the post to Ryan Crocker, Eikenberry appears to have decided to speak more candidly.
“When we hear ourselves being called occupiers and worse, our pride is offended, and we begin to lose our inspiration to carry on,” Eikenberry said….