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US congressman refused entry to Afghanistan over criticisms of Karzai

Posted by The Agonist on April 23rd, 2012

From our partners at The Agonist

Ewen MacAskill/Washington & Emma Graham-Harrison/Kabul | Apr 22

The GuardianRenewed tension between Washington and Kabul after Afghan president tells Dana Rohrabacher he would not be welcome

Relations between the US and Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, came under renewed strain after a senior Congressman highly critical of the Kabul government was barred from entering Afghanistan.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Republican chairman of the House foreign affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigation, has been an outspoken opponent of Karzai. Rohrabacher has engaged with other Afghan leaders about a more decentralised form of government for Afghanistan and called for a US investigation into alleged government corruption.

He had been leading a delegation to Afghanistan but was stopped in Dubai on Friday on his way to Kabul. The other members of the delegation had visas for Afghanistan but Rohrabacher did not.

Tara Olivia Setmayer, communications director for Rohrabacher, said: “Karzai told the state department he was not welcome and secretary Clinton personally conveyed that sentiment to Mr Rohrabacher and asked him not to continue on to Kabul with his fellow members. Out of respect, he obliged.”

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