Karzai: al-Qaeda Is a 'Myth'

Outgoing leader vents frustrations with US
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2014 8:44 AM CST
Karzai: al-Qaeda Is a 'Myth'
This Jan. 11, 2013 file photo shows President Barack Obama listening as Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in the East Room at the White House.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai says he's "done enough; it’s time for me to move on." But ahead of April's elections to replace him, Karzai is reflecting on his time as president—and his anger at the US government—in a lengthy Washington Post interview. Furious about civilian casualties of the war, he says the US should have spent more time focusing on Taliban strongholds and less time targeting Afghan villages. "Afghans died in a war that’s not ours," he says, reflecting on a 4-year-old girl who lost 14 family members—and half her face—to an American airstrike.

Karzai calls al-Qaeda "more a myth than a reality," adding that most US prisoners in Afghanistan are innocent. The war, he says, was "for the US security and for the Western interest." US officials disagree, the Post notes; they point to 2,000 American lives lost and $600 billion spent to dismantle the Taliban and al-Qaeda and rehabilitate Afghanistan. Karzai notes that he is "of two hearts" about the war as a whole. "When I see good, I am in approval. When I see the losses of Afghan people, our children, maimed and killed, I’m in disapproval," he says. He had to speak out publicly against the US to get any traction in fighting policies he opposed, he argues. "I had no other weapon to resort to … I was forced to yell." Click for the full piece. (More Hamid Karzai stories.)

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