Pushing the limits
Once again, Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, has pushed the boundary of tact and good relations with remarks regarding the continuing presence of United States military forces in his country.
On the occasion of a surprise visit by newly confirmed U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Karzai decided to go on the offensive, claiming that the U.S. and the Taliban have concocted some sort of a devious partnership.
Referring to bombings in Kabul and Khost that killed a number of civilians, Karzai said the suicide attacks were meant as a message that the Taliban “... are at the service of America and at the service of this phrase: ‘2014’. They are trying to frighten us into thinking that if the foreigners are not in Afghanistan, we would be facing these sorts of incidents.”
Such thinking on Karzai’s part ignores history and the sacrifices that the U.S. and other NATO forces have made in attempting to set his country on its feet after freeing it from the repressive clutches of the Taliban.
Let Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, make the case: “We have fought too hard over the past 12 years. We have shed too much blood over the past 12 years. We have done too much to help the Afghan Security Forces grow over the last 12 years, to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage,” he said.
“I will tell you this, though. All of our meetings (with Karzai) have been productive. He’s taken the time to share with me his perspective. That perspective has been helpful. It’s important that we understand his perspective as we work through this transition, and so we’ve done that.”
That fact is that the war in Afghanistan has taken the lives of nearly 2,200 Americans while leaving more than 17,000 maimed and wounded.
Nor have Americans forgiven the Taliban for serving as the willing host to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist network while at the same time ruling their own people with a perverted ancient brand of Islam. Americans are also well aware of the Taliban’s disregard for the rights of women as they look to turn back the clock and regain power.
The U.S. continues to move gently in its handling of Karzai, refraining from serious criticism ... but good will has its limits.
With friends like him, who needs enemies?