Commander rejects charge from Karzai that US, Taliban working to boost violence

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is rejecting as "categorically false" an accusation from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The Afghan leader says the Taliban and the U.S. are working in concert to convince Afghans that if most foreign troops leave, the violence will get worse.

Karzai pointed to a pair of suicide bombings that killed 19 people yesterday -- including one outside the Afghan Defense Ministry. He said the insurgent group is carrying out attacks to show that international forces will still be needed to keep the peace after their current combat mission ends next year. And he says the explosions "showed that they are at the service of America."

Karzai is known for making incendiary comments in public speeches such as today's nationally-televised address about the state of Afghan women.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces, Gen. Joseph Dunford, says Karzai has never suggested to him that he thinks the U.S. and the Taliban are working together to continue the threat of violence in Afghanistan.

A Pentagon spokesman says the comments from Karzai weren't the reason for the cancelation of a press conference that he was supposed to conduct today with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. U.S. officials said a security threat prompted the cancellation.

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