Afghanistan’s former president argued Tuesday that Washington helped fuel corruption in his nation by spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the past two decades without accountability, AP writes.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hamid Karzai responded to findings from a trove of newly published documents that successive U.S. administrations misled the public about the war in Afghanistan.
Karzai said the documents confirm his long-running complaints about U.S. spending.
The documents also describe Karzai, Afghanistan’s president for 14 years, as having headed a government that “self-organized into a kleptocracy.” Karzai has denied wrong-doing but hasn’t denied involvement in corruption by officials in his government.
Karzai became Afghanistan’s president after a 2001 U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban government. Thousands of pages of documents recently obtained by the Post portray successive U.S. governments lying about successes and hiding failures. After 18 years and over $1 trillion dollars in U.S. taxpayer money spent on the war, the Taliban are now at their strongest and control or hold sway over half the country.
Karzai said the U.S. spent hundreds of millions of dollars in its war on terror, with the money flowing to contractors and private security firms, and that this fostered corruption.
“What could we do? It was U.S. money coming here and used by them and used for means that did not help Afghanistan,” Karzai said, arguing that there was “no accountability.”
“I’m glad this report is out, and I hope this becomes an eye-opener to the American people and that the U.S. government begins to change its attitude now toward Afghanistan,” he said, describing America’s fostering of corruption as a “tool” to impose their game plan.
The Pentagon said Monday there had been “no intent” to mislead Congress or the public, and that the Defense Department gave regular updates to lawmakers on U.S. challenges in Afghanistan, AP added.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been trying to broker a peace deal that would pave the way for a pullout of American forces. U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Saturday held the first official talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban since previous seemingly successful efforts ran aground in September.