Obama: Karzai must remain ‘critical partner’
Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010 12:14 pm
By JENNIFER LOVEN
AP White House
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama says Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai remains “a critical partner” with the United States in the fight against terrorism despite Karzai’s harsh recent criticism of the West.
In an interview broadcast today, Obama said he still thinks Karzai is committed to giving his government greater legitimacy by helping its people and rooting out corruption. He said that if the U.S. is to ensure that Afghanistan is not a haven for extremist organizations, it must succeed on military and civilians fronts there, and Karzai has to be a major player.
Karzai has infuriated the White House with accusations that the United Nations and the international community interfered in last year’s fraud-tarnished presidential election in Afghanistan. The White House suggested that it could even cancel Karzai’s planned visit to the White House on May 12 if such troubling comments continued. But the tone seems to be softening.
“We have gotten through this period,” Gen. James Jones, Obama’s national security adviser, told reporters traveling back from Prague with the president on Air Force One.
Jones said that Obama wrote and had delivered a thank-you note to Karzai for hosting him on short notice during the U.S. president’s trip to Afghanistan on March 28. The note made no mention of the recent controversies.
Obama pledged in his note to continue a common effort with Karzai to make Afghanistan a success, Jones said.
The national security adviser said the note, combined with assurances that Karzai has given to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that he did not intend to damage the relationship, means White House officials consider the matter behind them.
Jones said there is no change in the plan for Karzai to visit the White House.
In his interview with ABC News, Obama was asked if Karzai is a partner now. Said Obama: “I think he has been a partner, but I think that he has his own domestic politics that he has to deal with.”
Published in The Messenger 4.9.10