"We have indicated to him in private that public criticism is unhelpful to the partnership, especially when there is no basis in fact for some of the claims he makes," said one senior U.S. official. "We understand that there are issues, but every close relationship has issues and we need to work through them in a constructive manner."This isn't the first time that Mr. Karzai accused the U.S. of conniving with the Taliban. In 2009, he alleged that the U.S. was secretly flying insurgents into northern Afghanistan in helicopters, as part of a plan to destabilize the country.Related CoverageThe only currency that will work with Mr. Karzai is money, not more of our money, but less of his accessible from his numbered bank accounts or other hidden assets. Relationships are fine, but this one is dysfunctional and manipulative; we are on the wrong end of the manipulation. The sooner this gets put on the right footing, the safer our troops, personnel and allies will be as we withdraw.
The U.S., other Western allies and Mr. Karzai's administration are engaged in discussions over what foreign military presence, if any, will remain in Afghanistan after 2014.
The U.S. has also been negotiating with the Taliban, but these talks have stalled over several issues, such as a possible swap of Taliban prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for a U.S. soldier in Taliban captivity, and the Taliban's refusal to talk with Mr. Karzai's representatives.
U.S. officials have envisaged that North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies would make up a large part of the residual force after 2014. Mr. Karzai, however, on Sunday reiterated his opposition to any deal with NATO as a whole, saying countries willing to keep troops here would need to negotiate individual deals with Kabul.
"If you want to stay beyond 2014, all of you separately need to sign agreements with the Afghan people," Mr. Karzai said Sunday. "Limited numbers, in a location we chose and under our conditions and framework, with respect for our laws, our sovereignty, our traditions and culture."
Few if any Western allies would agree to contribute troops to an Afghan mission that is not within the NATO framework, Western diplomats say. "They want us out, that is for sure," a Western official said. "They feel that we are part of the problem."
How could we expose our troops to agreements about fixed locations under Afghan jurisdiction? How would any Western allies agree to this foolishness? Karzai is exposing the Pillsbury Doughboy core of our inept foreign policy and exploiting it to this advantage.