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US defence chief blasts Karzai over troop deaths

Published Oct 06, 2012 04:45am


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US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. -AFP Photo

LIMA: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday voiced frustration at Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the latter's preference to “criticise” American troops, instead of acknowledging the sacrifices they made.

Panetta, who arrived in Peru to begin a Latin American tour, earlier told reporters aboard the military plane taking him to Lima that Karzai should remember that more than 2,000 US troops had died in Afghanistan.

The angry riposte came after Karzai said on Thursday that the United States was failing to go after militants based in Pakistan, another charge that Panetta chose to hit back at.

“We have made progress in Afghanistan because there are men and women in uniform who are willing to fight and die for Afghanistan's sovereignty and their right to govern and secure themselves,” Panetta said.

“We've lost over 2,000 US men and women, Isaf has lost forces there and the Afghans have lost a large number of their forces in battle.

“Those lives were lost fighting the right enemy, not the wrong enemy. And I think it would be helpful if the president, every once in a while, expressed his thanks for the sacrifices that have been made by those who have fought and died for Afghanistan rather than criticise.”

The outburst was rare for Panetta and the remarks come as relations between the United States and Afghanistan come under strain in the wake of several deadly and high-profile attacks on American troops by their local comrades.

In Afghanistan, the United States has also seen its image tarnished among ordinary Afghans this year by the burning of Qurans at a military base, the abuse of corpses and a massacre of civilians by a rogue American soldier.

An unprecedented number of Afghan security personnel have turned their weapons against their allies, killing at least 51 Nato soldiers this year.

Despite this, many Afghans, particularly in the cities, fear the departure of the Western troops in 2014 from a country where the government of Karzai is widely seen as corrupt and dependent on foreign support.


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Comments (8) Closed

Ashraf Oct 06, 2012 08:25am
Nothing is permanent in politics.Mr Karzai change his stand at any point of time.
M. Asghar Oct 06, 2012 08:39am
Mr Panetta forgot that the foreign troops who have been occupying Afghansitan for more than 10 years for their geopolitical interests, have done so much harm to the country and its people.
r.s.soni Oct 06, 2012 09:20am
sir, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta is right. i don't know what more mr karzai expects from u.s.a?
Adil Oct 06, 2012 06:31am
I think,when american government criticize Pakistan and its army for not doing enough in this war they are doing exactly the same thing that they are accusing Mr Karzai of.
Kamaal Oct 07, 2012 09:01am
Geopolitical interest??? What Nato will get in return after spending trillions of dollars, think straight, not like a south Asian....
Dude Oct 06, 2012 08:24pm
Afghans have a habit of spitting in the plate where they eat from. Pakistan is an example. Pakistan gave them food shelter jobs for last 30 years ( Including MR Karzai). What Pakistan got in return??? So US should not hope for any better..
Crocket Oct 07, 2012 08:17am
The U.S. did not want to enter Afghanistan and have American lives lost. The U.S. was attacked by forces in Afghanistan. When the U.S. demanded the individuals be turned out of Afghanistan as would any country so attacked, the Afghanistan government at the time refused. Bad decision
khan Oct 06, 2012 09:39am
MR PENNETA also remember how much afghans have lost their lives because of your unwanted actions