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Thursday, Aug 28, 2014
Editorials

U.S. encourages Karzai’s disdain

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Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, has frequently treated the United States with contempt, and his abuse is likely to continue given the Obama’s administration latest concession.

Only after the administration agreed for President Barack Obama to acknowledge past “mistakes” by U.S. military forces, and to promise such mistakes would not be repeated, did the Afghan president agree to a security agreement that will cover American troops after 2014, when combat operations are scheduled to end.

The sticking point in negotiations had been America’s request that troops be permitted to enter Afghan homes and mosques for security purposes.

Afghan’s concern over such raids, not all of which have proved justified, is somewhat understandable.

But the raids are essential to rooting out the very terrorists who threaten Karzai’s rule.

Yet he continued to reject the agreement, even after Gen. Joseph Dunford, the commander of America’s forces in Afghanistan, modified its phrasing so that American troops would be allowed to enter homes only “on extraordinary occasions.”

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Karzai finally relented and will permit the raids under such circumstances, but with the expectation that the president will apologize for mistakes by U.S. armed forces.

Instead of expressing contrition, Obama should express his outrage at the ingrate.

Of course, U.S. troops have made mistakes during combat operations in Afghanistan. That is the way of war, particularly when fighting terrorists who hide among civilians. The U.S. commanders have made clear their regret when blunders have occurred.

The president might remind Karzai that our nation freed Afghanistan from a Taliban dictatorship and continues to provide security for Karzai and his notoriously corrupt government.

Yet he continues to poke our nation in the eye at every opportunity.

According to The New York Times, during a phone call between Secretary of State John Kerry and Karzai on Monday, Kerry proposed that he “write a letter acknowledging Afghan suffering from past mistakes of American troops, and promising that such mistakes would not be repeated.”

Karzai reportedly said he would accept that if the letter was signed by Obama, and Kerry agreed. The proposed deal will be presented to as many as 3,000 Afghan tribal leaders Thursday.

If the deal is rejected, the United States may do just as it did in Iraq and leave Afghanistan to maintain its own security.

We’ve all seen what has transpired in Iraq since the Americans left. The United States is trying to spare Afghanistan that kind of bloodshed. But it’s time to let Karzai know it has had enough of his self-important posturing.

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