"Afghans died in a war that’s not ours."
That's what outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the Washington Post in an interview that took place this weekend in Kabul and was published on Monday.
Karzai says his intrasigence over a bilateral security agreement with the U.S. is fueled by his anger at the Obama administration and the sadness he feels after witnessing so much pain and suffering inflicted upon his people by a war that has dragged on for more than twelve years.
The war, he says, was fought for “for the U.S. security and for the Western interest” but it was ordinary Afghans, including a four-year-old girl he recently visited in the hospital who had half her face blown off during a U.S. bombing.
“That day, I wished she were dead, so she could be buried with her parents and brothers and sisters” — 14 of whom had been killed in the same attack — he told the Post.
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Was the war worth it? he was asked.
Karzai responded: “I am of two hearts here. When I see good, I am in approval. When I see the losses of Afghan people, our children, maimed and killed, I’m in disapproval,” he said, speaking in English. “Maybe I can give you an answer of yes or no two, three or five years from now, when my emotions have subsided. Right now, I’m full of emotions.’’
He says he will likely not sign the BSA that Obama and the Pentagon insist is imperative if the U.S. is to keep soldiers on the ground beyond the end of the year. He does think, however, that his successor should and will sign such an agreement.
The reason he has held out, he explains, is because it has become his only source of leverage with the Obama administration. If he signs it, then he will have no way to issue the demands he still has: namely that the U.S. step up its efforts to make peace talks with the Taliban, a moratorium on night raids by U.S. troops that have terrorized Afghan families, and an end to airstrikes that have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.
Karzai offered this parting message to the reporters as they left: “To the American people, give them my best wishes and my gratitude. To the U.S. government, give them my anger, my extreme anger.’’