March 10, 2013

Afghan leader alleges US, Taliban are colluding

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

The CIA declined to comment. NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Les Carroll said that no NATO forces "harassed a university student" as described by the President's office.

In the incident at the Kandahar university Saturday, presidential spokesman Faizi said the raiders fired shots as they grabbed student Abdul Qayoum, and blindfolded him before taking him for interrogation at a CIA post that Taliban leader Mullah Omar once used as a home.

The CIA has trained an Afghan counterterrorist force several thousand strong, known as the Counterterrorism Pursuit Team, which works mostly in insurgent strongholds in southern and eastern Afghanistan. U.S. officials say they work in concert with the Afghan intelligence service, but Karzai frequently complains he lacks oversight over their operations.

Karzai said in his speech that any foreign powers that want to keep troops in Afghanistan need to do so under conditions set forward by Afghanistan.

"We will tell them where we need them, and under which conditions. They must respect our laws. They must respect the national sovereignty of our country and must respect all our customs," Karzai said.

Karzai offered no proof of coordination, but said the Taliban and the United States were in "daily negotiations" in various foreign countries and noted that the United States has said that it no longer considers the insurgent group its enemy. The U.S. continues to fight against the Taliban and other militant groups, but has expressed its backing for formal peace talks with the Taliban to find a political resolution to the war.

Karzai said he did not believe the Taliban's claim that they launched Saturday's attacks to show they are still a potent force fighting the United States. "Yesterday's explosions, which the Taliban claimed, show that in reality they are saying they want the presence of foreigners in Afghanistan," Karzai said.

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