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Karzai Says He Wants to Reform Ties with US

  • VOA News

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, March 6, 2013.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, March 6, 2013.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his recent comments that were seen as critical of the United States were meant to help reform, and not damage, relations between the two countries.

A statement from the Afghan president's office quotes Karzai saying his country wants a good relationship with the U.S., but one that is a friendship between two independent nations.

The statement, released Thursday, came after the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, warned his top commanders that troops faced an increased threat of attack due to rising tensions with the president.

A copy of the emailed advisory, sent Wednesday, was obtained by the New York Times newspaper and other U.S. media.

Karzai on Sunday accused the Taliban of being "at the service of America" by using violence to frighten Afghans into wanting foreign forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 deadline.

Both Dunford and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have rejected the allegations.

Last month, Hagel's predecessor, Leon Panetta, said that NATO allies were considering leaving between 8,000 and 12,000 international troops in Afghanistan after 2014. Currently, there are about 100,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan.