Secretary of State John Kerry won’t “lecture or chide” Afghan President Hamid Karzai for claiming that the United States is colluding with the Taliban, the State Department said today.
“We’re not there to lecture him or chide [Karzai] ,” a senior administration official said during a background briefing from Kerry’s airplane as he traveled to Afghanistan. The official was responding to a reporter who asked if Kerry would call for Karzai to retract his accusation that the United States is having daily talks with the Taliban.
“[W]e’ve addressed this with President Karzai. I mean, to the comment he made that we were meeting with the Taliban daily, we’ve gone privately to him to clarify that – what we’ve told him previously, we’ve been transparent with him throughout and that we haven’t met with them in over a year,” the official added. “And we’ve, of course, corrected the record on that publicly.”
Karzai claimed that the Taliban launched a terrorist attack during Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s visit to the country because they “want longer presence of foreigners — not their departure from Afghanistan.”
The official suggested that Karzai didn’t actually say that. “I mean, one has to get into what he actually said in Pashto, how it was translated in English, how it was reported, and so on,” he said. “But I mean, we’ve gone through some level of detail in clarifying with him already. And like I said, I hope at this point we can begin to move forward and look past this.”