April 2nd, 2010
06:23 PM ET

Around the Web: Karzai tries to explain caustic comments

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday about remarks he had made blaming election fraud in his country on the international community, according to CNN’s Elise Labott and Jill Dougherty.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Karzai called Clinton after meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry.

Karzai and Clinton talked for 25 minutes, according to State Department officials.

The United States was seeking clarification about comments Karzai made Thursday blaming the international community for widespread fraud in last year's election, which kept him in office.

Two State Department officials - who are not authorized to speak on the record but who had knowledge of the phone call - said the tone was "very constructive" and that the United States found it "useful" for Karzai to reach out to Clinton.

"We are happy with the call," one of the officials said. "We reached a good understanding. We pledged to move on and focus on the work ahead."      

The official added that Karzai "expressed surprise that his comments had caused a stir" in U.S. circles.

Some other news reports and perspectives:

- Steve Coll (The New Yorker): “Kandahar

- Yaroslav Trofimov (Wall Street Journal): “Taliban gag Kandahar's clerics to keep grip on city

- Dion Nassenbaum (McClatchy): “For Marines, Marjah market is battleground for Afghans' trust

- Karen Bruilliard (Washington Post): “Enduring army role in Swat spurs questions about Pakistan's civilian government

- Joe Klein (Time): “Harvesting democracy in Afghanistan

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