Karzai says US failed in Afghanistan, leaving behind a ‘disaster’
Afghanistan’s former president Hamid Karzai said Sunday the United States came to Afghanistan to fight extremism and bring stability to his country but is leaving nearly 20 years later having failed at both.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_In an interview with The Associated Press amid the final push to withdraw all foreign troops from the country, Karzai said extremism is at its “highest point” and the departing troops are leaving behind a disaster.
“The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear objective of fighting extremism and bringing stability … but extremism is at the highest point today. So they have failed,” he told AP.
Their legacy is a #war-ravaged_nation in “total disgrace and disaster.”
“We recognize as Afghans all our failures, but what about the bigger forces and powers who came here for exactly that purpose? Where are they leaving us now?” he asked and answered: “In total disgrace and disaster.”
Still, #Karzai, who had a conflicted relationship with the United States during his 13-year rule, wanted the troops to leave, saying Afghans were united behind an overwhelming desire for peace and needed now to take responsibility for their future, AP reported.
“We will be better off without their military presence,” he said. “I think we should defend our own country and look after our own lives. … Their presence (has given us) what we have now. … We don’t want to continue with this misery and indignity that we are facing. It is better for Afghanistan that they leave.”
During Karzai’s rule, women re-emerged, girls again attended school, a vibrant, young civil society emerged, new high-rises went up in the capital Kabul and roads and infrastructure were built. But his rule was also characterized by allegations of widespread corruption, a flourishing drug trade and in the final years relentless quarrels with #Washington that continue even until today.
However, the U.S.’s attempts to bring about a political end to the decades of war have been elusive.
In February last year, the U.S. signed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw its troops in exchange for the Taliban cutting ties with terrorist groups, including #al-Qaeda and keeping Afghanistan from again being a staging arena for attacks on America.
But officials have said there is little evidence the Taliban are fulfilling their part of the bargain. The United Nations claims the Taliban and al-Qaeda are still linked while the architect of the U.S. deal and current U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad says some progress has been made but without offering any details, AP reported.
“The desire of the Afghan people, overwhelmingly, all over the country is for peace,” said Karzai.
Karzai had a message for both sides in the conflict: “The two Afghan sides, none of them should be fighting.” While accusing both Pakistan, where the Taliban leadership is headquartered, and the United States of stoking the fighting, Karzai said it is up to Afghans to end decades of war.
To Pakistan’s military and civilian leadership, Karzai said Afghanistan wants “a civilized relationship… if Pakistan adopts an attitude away from the use of extremism against Afghanistan, this relationship can grow into a beautiful relationship, into a very fruitful relationship for both sides.”
To the warring sides in Afghanistan, Karzai said: “I’m very emphatic and clear about this, both sides should think of the lives of the Afghan people and the property… fighting is destruction.”
“The only answer is Afghans getting together. … We must recognize that this is our country and we must stop killing each other.”