ISAF chief rejects Afghan president remarks on US, Taliban collusion

The commander of the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan Joseph Dunford has rejected the recent remarks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that Taliban and the US officials are working together to destabilize the war-torn country.

“President Karzai has never said to me that the United States was colluding with the Taliban. All I can do is speak for the coalition to tell you that it's categorically false, and that we have no reason to be colluding with the Taliban,” Dunford said in a message sent to BBC.

“We have no reason to be supporting instability in Afghanistan,” he added.

On Sunday, Karzai has said US officials and the Taliban are jointly seeking to destabilize Afghanistan to justify the presence of foreign forces in the country.

Karzai also added that talks are under way on a daily basis "between Taliban, American and foreigners in Europe and in the (Persian) Gulf states.”

Referring to two Taliban bombings in Kabul and Khost which killed 17 people on Saturday, the Afghan president said that “Those bombs … were not a show of force to America. They were in service of America. It was in the service of the 2014 slogan to warn us if they (Americans) are not here then Taliban will come.”
The attacks show “that Taliban want longer presence of foreigners -- not their departure from Afghanistan,” Karzai said.

The United States currently has 66,000 troops in Afghanistan, down from about 100,000 in 2010. The US has announced plans to decrease its troop level to about 32,000 by early 2014.

According to the website, 3,259 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led war began in 2001.


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