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Karzai says he wants to 'correct' US-Afghan ties

March 14, 2013

Afghan President Hamid Karzai.—AFP (File Photo)

KABUL: President Hamid Karzai on Thursday said he wanted to “correct” rather than damage US-Afghan relations, after a storm of protest over his recent anti-US remarks.

Karzai, who on Sunday suggested that the United States was working in concert with Taliban militants, acknowledged there were serious bilateral strains as the Nato-led military coalition starts to withdraw from Afghanistan.

“The president called the United States a friend and strategic partner of Afghanistan and said his recent comments... had been to correct rather than damage this relationship,” a statement from his office said.

“The president said that both countries are in a critical stage of relations, therefore it is natural that each side tries to stand for and focus on its national interests.”

Karzai told a forum at his palace in Kabul that among the causes of tension were a dispute over detainees held by the United States and civilian casualties in Nato military operations.

“We want a good relationship with America, we want friendship, but friendship between two sovereign nations,” Karzai told the audience of invited guests and government officials.

Karzai's allegation of collusion provoked fury among US officials, as both nations negotiate the framework that could allow some American troops to remain in Afghanistan when Nato combat troops leave next year.