April 7th, 2010
05:55 PM ET

U.S., Afghanistan deny Obama-Karzai rift

WASHINGTON — The Afghan and U.S. governments played down their political differences Wednesday, rejecting reports of a major dispute between the Obama administration and President Hamid Karzai.

Supportive statements by the U.S. State Department and Karzai's spokesman followed a week of increasing tension between the governments. On Tuesday, the White House indicated it could call off a scheduled May 12 visit by Karzai to Washington.

The tone was different Wednesday, with State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley calling Karzai an ally in a shared struggle.

"We're committed to this partnership," Crowley said, adding: "We share President Karzai's desire to lead Afghanistan to greater sovereignty, and we support the goals he has laid out from his inauguration speech until today."

Karzai was re-elected president last year in voting marred by irregularities that required a runoff. Since then, the Obama administration has publicly pressured Karzai to eliminate corruption in his government and improve
delivery of services to his people.

Last week, Karzai irritated U.S. officials when he blamed the election irregularities on foreigners who want a "puppet government" in Afghanistan.

He further aggravated Washington, his biggest backer, on Sunday when he told a gathering of tribal leaders that the U.S.-led alliance will not move against Taliban fighters in Kandahar "until you say we can."

At the same time, media reports have included harsh criticism of Karzai by a former U.N. diplomat, as well as claims that Karzai said he would consider joining the Taliban insurgency being fought by the U.S.-led NATO mission and Afghan forces.

On Wednesday, Karzai's spokesman described the report that Karzai threatened to join the Taliban as laughable.

"That was I think a funny thing in the media," said the spokesman, Waheed Omar, who added that the report shocked the Afghan government.

Omar said Karzai and the government were committed to fighting the Taliban and international terrorism. He also said that Afghanistan would continue to seek stronger ties with the United States and that the only differences between them involved last year's election.

In Washington, Crowley rejected what he called "outrageous allegations" against Karzai by the former U.N. diplomat, Peter Galbraith, who suggested that Karzai may have been using drugs. The United States had no concerns about Karzai's behavior, Crowley said.

"To the extent we have differences with President Karzai, we will work through them constructively in the spirit of the long-term partnership we have established with Afghanistan," he said.

He also downplayed the suggestion Tuesday by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs that the U.S. invitation for Karzai to visit Washington next month could be rescinded.

"The visit is still on, and there has been no change," Crowley said.

"Will we see eye-to-eye on every step? No, we don't," he said. "And where we have concerns, we will respectfully engage the government - not just the president, but others - and work through these in a spirit of respect and partnership."

Crowley also suggested that some of Karzai's comments may be aimed at politicians in Afghanistan, rather than in Washington.

"We have concerns about some of the things he has said, just as I think that probably President Karzai and others may take issue with some of the things that are said in this country," Crowley said.

"We do understand that there is a political process that has emerged in Afghanistan," he continued. "That's a good thing. And politicians in Afghanistan and around the world sometimes will feel a need to say things of
importance to their own populations and that may cause us some discomfort."

- CNN's Charley Keyes and Mati Matiullah contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Karzai • Obama • White House
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ptakvpfrqzu

    6ocgOi izpkbojxfjrh

    October 7, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. czjodrbq

    T6AFph dpejrcgquqme

    October 5, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rain

    I told my gramndoethr how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”

    October 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. rawideasinc

    Ahmad,,,the reason we cannot dust the crops is because not all of the drugs are black maeket used ,,,,they supply most of the morphine used world wide in hostpitals,,,but if we take the area which we have and cut off the profits to the Taliban and put it in the hands of the common Afgan people they will prosper and will see we are genuine in our desire to help them and they will become trust worthy both in their desire to help keep the prosperity,and their desire to fight for it and die for it ,if nescessary. The reason Karzia is upset is because we are winning over the people and the corruption and his brothers influence are under direct scrutiny,and they will either come clean or loose the support of the people,,,who want to live in peace.

    April 11, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. rawideasinc

    Galbraith,must be on drugs to have the opinions he does on the issue of Afghanistan,we have accomplished more in a year there ,than the Bush debacle did in seven years. We have taken a major source of income away by the surge in the heroin hub,and we are making a new partner but with the people ,by paying them,yes them meaning the some of the poorest people on Earth.We will prevail if these people like him will just shut up,and stop trying to justify the failure of the previuos admin,,,on this issue and give credit where it is due ,,,,,to the Obama admin., With people like him having been watching over the situation in the past it is no wonder there was failure,,,,,,,

    April 11, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bill From New Mexico

    Why should we be surprised. After all isn't this the messiah that was supposed to be loved by all the world. Yep folks, this is real change when nearly all world leaders look upon this incompetent corrupt administration as nothing but a bunch of buffoons.

    April 11, 2010 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. ahmad

    If US is serious fighting drugs which is the main source of financing the terrorists why they just don't destroy them using a corps-duster airplanes. If I know that my children got addicted with those drugs sure I should take whatever step its needed to eliminate them. US should not wait for Karzai to take a serious step in this regard while his brother is the head of Mafia, period. As long as drug is more profitable people will not turn there back to drugs. I don't understand why US does not understand this simple math. US and Nato should not listen to self-serving Karzai advice on how to fight drugs. All these Narco traffickers and harvesters are from Karzai's tribe too, he does not want to do anything to make them angry by destroying their source of income. And the only time US is successful in fighting terrorism in the region is to fight the drug business first as there financial source.

    April 9, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ajmal

    I am an Afghan and I think it´s great that every body, and I mean every body got an opinion about Afghanistan and the afghan president. The problem is that the majority of the people debating here do not have any proper knowledge of Afghanistan or the political situation in Afghanistan. It took USA 8 year´s to recognize that we have to go after hearts and minds. something karzai was saying from day one. It took USA 8 years to recognise that killing civilians is not a minor problem. something karzai was crying loud out. And it will take USA 16 years before it recogizes that an Afghan president will never be able to reform the country if the people dont see him/her as independent. That is not the case right know. Like some say "lets remove him", or "lets kill him". Is that what you guys do to a elected president?. IS that your knowledge of democracy?

    April 9, 2010 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Iraq Paramedic

    OK I am not a violent minded person, unfortunately I used to be, but the Obama admin needs to sack Karzi & let the CIA take him & his brother out & find a man or woman who actually cares about the people & put them in office. You know though I still say let's pull all our people & equipment back home to our shores & let them eat crow.
    No that is wrong, that is the old me. Some body has to be the champion of peace, morality & human rights so why not us. The USA is far from perfect but, at least we try to protech the moral human rights of all.
    May GOD Bless & keep us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. sohail

    Karzai's brother is #1 Drug Lord of Afghanistan stuff running via AIR from Kabul to Bombay and then into EU and US.. Why Bombay? because Karzai has allowed too many concession for Indian Armya nnd RAW (Indian Intelligence) to support Pakistni Talibans and de-estabilizing Baluchistan

    Karzai hismelf is a puppet taken from Haliburton and put inti Afghan President seat..

    His days are numbered.. that worries Indians.. Only reason he was accepted as President after recent election because Indians in Washington put pressure on Obama.. This looser has to go.. when??? Stay Tuned

    April 8, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Danny Cali

    That's why Afghanistan still have too many Taliban because the President in Afghan's joining them, so I think we should replace this guy if we want to win the Country of Afghanistan. Should be some body support Taliban that's why their survive, need change please.

    April 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. eddie

    We should spray the poppy fields then leave. Why should our citizens die over there when it is of little vaule other than get rid of the poppies.

    April 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Canadian eh

    There is a definite rift now as finally the truth has come out. Karzi is a closet taliban. Who in their right mind would say that publicly other than someone who is being influenced by them. He is a coward, like anyone who claims to be a taliban. They use others to do their bidding without any fear of reprisal. Bin Laden could be commuting back and forth between Afghanistan (protected by the government) and Pakistan, who knows or he's really dead. We can hope for the latter.

    April 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. haroun Eikram

    end the war i am a muslim and i still admit the country is a rat hole drone attacks are more effective and those right wing nut jobs at the white house refuse to end the war because we have idiots running the country to fight a pointless war all the government is doing is condemning people to death in a foreign country and all the while if any country in the world went and invaded we couldn't to crap about it because evry one is in Afghanistan so congratulations

    April 8, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dan Lafayette,IN

    It sounds like Karzai is playing politics with this war on terror. He and his army need to put more into the fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda and not try to politicize the war for his own benefit! Afghanistan,Pakistan and the world would benefit without the likes of the Taliban and al Qaeda in it!

    April 8, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  16. A. Smith, Oregon

    Of course all is fine, even thou Karzai is threatening to become a member of the Taliban freedom fighter movement himself.

    All is fine, even thou Karzai's CIA handlers double crossed him when they busted up Karzai's peace treaty meeting with Taliban commanders recently in Pakistan.

    All is fine, even thou is it now public knowledge that Karzai and his alleged major Opium exporting brother are both on the CIA pay-roll.

    All is fine, and then suddenly the CIA hand picked Presidential successor to Karzai is trotted out to the public.

    Then comes the CIA smear campaign on former President Karzai, I wonder how much air time is going to be wasted on that?

    April 8, 2010 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  17. Smokey

    Forget Karzai, forget the Afghanis, it's time to get out of this rat-hole of a country – Canada is leaving at the end of the year and the U.S. should as well. The most effective strategy so far has been drone attacks, those fly out of Kyrgyzstan and are operated out of Vegas, there's no need to stay any longer.

    April 8, 2010 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  18. Nathanael [desert voice]

    Since I had a similar view, I kind of agree with this assessment of what has transpired. But I would not rest on this lore for a moment. The situation in Afghanistan requires hourly interventions and evaluations. Is there enough money to buy the poppy crops right now? Ask President Karzai. If there is, what are the American advisers waiting for? These crops will be used by the Taliban to kill U.S. soldiers in Kandahar! Buy them now and then resell them to pharmaceutical companies throughout the world!!

    April 8, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  19. Daniel

    Why am I not surprised? I guess these right-wing thugs in Washington will do anything to keep this horrific war going.no matter what.As long as the majority of the people are dumb enough to support this war thet see no reason to stop it and this makes these thugs quite happy.

    April 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |