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Karzai threatens to join the Taliban

5 April 2010 22:27

President Hamid Karzai has threatened to step down and join the Taliban if outside pressure for reform continues, Afghan lawmakers say.

It was the second time in recent days that Karzai had threatened to quit and join the Taliban, three MPs stated.

“Karzai said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban,'” Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar, said on Monday.

“He said that rebelling would change to resistance,” Marenai added.

The Afghan president reiterated his threat at a closed-door meeting with selected parliamentarians at a time when diplomatic tension between Karzai and the United States is increasing — just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind the fraud in last year’s disputed presidential election.

Karzai is facing trouble with his US and NATO allies stationed in Afghanistan. He has said he and his government are not sovereign in Afghanistan and exercise little control or influence over tactical military operations.

And indeed the situation is grim. The killing of civilians by the allies goes unacknowledged. US troops are operating a prison system in Afghanistan on their own, with no obvious connection to Afghanistan’s law.

Lawmakers dismissed Karzai’s latest comment as hyperbole.

Nevertheless, it is clear the Afghan president is growing increasingly erratic and unable to exert authority in the country.

Marenai said Karzai appeared nervous and repeatedly demanded to know why parliament had rejected legal reforms that would have strengthened the president’s authority over the country’s electoral institutions last week.

During a visit to Kandahar on Sunday, Karzai again distanced himself from his Western backers by telling tribal elders that government officials should not let foreigners meddle in their work and Afghans need to see their leaders are not puppets.

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