Karzai: Obama Administration Said Taliban 'Not Our Enemies'
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says before he signs a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, he has two demands: that “the Americans should stop attacks against Afghan homes” and that there be “peace in Afghanistan.” In an interview tih RFE/RL's Akbar Ayazi, Karzai said:
I have demanded an end to all American attacks against Afghan homes and the beginning of a realistic peace process. Whenever the Americans meet these two demands of mine, I am ready to sign the agreement. And when these two demands are implemented, this agreement is in Afghanistan's interests.
Asked whether Susan Rice, the U.S. national security adviser, told him the U.S. would stay out of the Afghan elections coming up in April, Karzai responded that he had talked to her, but he wasn’t entirely trustful in the U.S. not interfering:
I briefed her about how America and other Western nations interfered in the previous presidential election, how they delayed the election, how they maligned the first round ballot. Keeping in view that experience, and as the president of Afghanistan today, it is my duty not to allow foreigners to either malign Afghanistan's next presidential election or stretch the process so that they can manipulate it. She assured me that this time there will be no interference in our election. So for now, I have her assurance. But I am watching them to see whether they interfere in the election or not. And I will talk about it then.
Karzai confirmed that the Obama Administration actually told him that the Taliban, which provided al Qaeda its base of support for September 11, was not an enemy of the U.S. He said:
Last year, during my visit to Washington, in a very important briefing a day before I met U.S. President [Barack Obama], his national security adviser Tom Donilon, and senior White House officials, generals, and intelligence officials, the national security adviser met with me. He told me: "The Taliban are not our enemies and we don't want to fight them."