Afghan President Hamid Karzai is reportedly suggesting that the United States is undermining his government through dozens of insurgent-style attacks.
Citing an anonymous Afghan official sympathetic to Karzai’s views, The Washington Post reported that Karzai has provided “a list of dozens of attacks” in which he claims the U.S. may have been involved.
Those attacks include the recent deadly assault on a popular restaurant in Kabul that left 21 people dead, including three Americans.
The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the assault on the restaurant, has denied U.S. involvement in the attacks.
“Whatever claims we make, those are attacks that have genuinely been carried out by our forces,” Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman told the Post.
The Afghan official said that Karzai’s suspicions stem from probes and “the pattern of the attacks,” which suggest that the “complex, insurgent-style assaults often happened shortly after U.S. airstrikes left civilians dead in other areas and might have been aimed at drawing attention away from those casualties.”
In the article, the senior palace official did note that the Afghan government has “no concrete evidence” to support Karzai’s claims.
The senior palace official told the Post that the Afghan President suspects the bombing on the restaurant in Kabul is “one of many incidents that may have been planned by Americans to weaken him and foment instability in Afghanistan.”
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James. B. Cunningham dismissed the accusations as a “deeply conspiratorial view that’s divorced from reality.”
“Any suggestion that the U.S. has been involved in any way in suicide attacks or deliberate attacks on Afghan civilians is ludicrous,” U.S. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., the top commander of U.S./NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, told the Post. “We have spent 12 years trying to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan in the face of threats from terrorist and insurgent networks… to suggest otherwise does a grave disservice to those who have sacrificed for the people of Afghanistan.”
Some U.S. officials and analysts speculate in the article that “in shifting suspicion for major attacks from the Taliban to the United States, [Karzai] might be trying to endear himself to the insurgents in hopes of a reconciliation.”
The recent report by the Post is the latest evidence that the relationship between Kabul and Washington is strained. Despite pressure from the White House, Karzai has refused to sign a security pact that will pave the way for U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
In a recent message to Washington, Karzai said that the U.S. should either restart peace negotiations with the Taliban or leave Afghanistan.