KABUL (Reuters) – Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday blamed the United States for his country’s long war, a final swipe at the country that helped bring him to power 13 years ago but towards which he has become increasingly bitter.
His farewell speech came days ahead of the planned swearing in of a new president, Ashraf Ghani, after months of potentially violent crisis over a disputed election that ended in a power-sharing deal, yet to be tested, with rival Abdullah Abdullah.
Karzai blamed both the United States and neighbouring Pakistan for the continuing war with the Taleban-led insurgency and warned the new government to be “be extra cautious in relations with the US and the West”.
The conflict kills thousands of Afghans each year and has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 American and other international forces in Afghanistan.
“One of the reasons was that the Americans did not want peace because they had their own agenda and objectives,” Karzai said. He did not elaborate, but in the past has suggested continued violence has been an excuse for the United States to keep bases in the country.
He also accused Pakistani power players of trying to control Afghanistan’s foreign policy.