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Karzai’s Team Clashes over Relations With U.S.

Posted by The Agonist on March 21st, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Qais Azimy and Mujib Mashal | Kabul | Mar 21

IPS/Al Jazeera – The increasing influence of a conservative circle within President Hamid Karzai’s palace has impeded progress in signing a crucial strategic agreement with the U.S. to chart the relationship beyond 2014, officials and analysts have said.

Their outspoken anti-U.S. views have frustrated Karzai’s diplomats negotiating with U.S. officials, often resulting in messy clashes.

On Mar. 8, a day before Afghanistan and the United States signed an agreement to gradually transfer control of prisons to the Afghan government, Jawid Ludin, the deputy foreign minister, and Karim Khurram, Karzai’s chief of staff, were summoned to brief Karzai ahead of a video conference with U.S. President Barack Obama. Also in the room were General John Allen, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul.

Just minutes before the call between the two leaders, Karzai left the room for a break, according to three separate sources inside the palace. In the following few minutes, in a confrontation that reportedly verged on physical violence, Khurram and Ludin accused each other of spying – one for Pakistan, the other for the United States. They were split up by the NATO commander and the U.S. ambassador. much more

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