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Afghan President's Spokesman Says U.S. Not Supporting Peace Efforts

Aimal Faizi said the U.S. government should put more pressure on Pakistan and the Taliban to achieve stability in Afghanistan.
KABUL -- A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the United States of failing to support the country's peace process with Taliban insurgents, the latest sign of tensions between Kabul and Washington.

Speaking to journalists in Kabul, Aimal Faizi said late on January 27 that Kabul wanted Washington to admit its guilt.

"What we want is for America to officially announce that it has failed to begin a peace process in Afghanistan. They should clearly spell out the reasons behind their failure," Faizi said.

"They should say whether the peace process hasn't taken off because Pakistan is reluctant to cooperate or because the Taliban is unwilling. They need to tell us whether the Pakistani [civilian] government or the military are reluctant to cooperate with them."

He also said the U.S. government should have been putting more pressure on Pakistan and the Taliban to achieve stability in Afghanistan.

Faizi's comments come as "The Washington Post" on January 28 published an article saying Karzai believes the United States is behind some of the attacks in Afghanistan that have been attributed to insurgents.

The article said Karzai's suspicions are one reason he has delayed signing a Bilateral Security Agreement with Washington, which would allow some U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond the planned withdrawal of NATO forces by the end of this year to train and assist Afghan soldiers.

For his part, Faizi said only that "several foreign 'hands'" were involved in Afghanistan's problems.

"Other than the Taliban, several foreign 'hands' are involved and work hard to damage Afghanistan's security, mislead public opinion, and by doing so increase pressure on the Afghan government as the country goes through a very sensitive phase," Faizi said.

"And we are at a significant position in the history of our country. Different foreign countries and intelligence agencies [are involved]."

'Suspicious' Attacks

"The Washington Post" article quoted an unnamed Afghan "palace official" as saying Karzai had been compiling a list of attacks the Afghan president believes are suspicious, including a January 17 bombing of a Lebanese restaurant in Kabul that was popular with foreigners.

The attack killed 21 people, including the head of the International Monetary Fund mission to Afghanistan and four UN staff members.

"The Washington Post" article noted the Taliban had claimed responsibility for many of the attacks Karzai is questioning and quoted Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid as saying, "Whatever claims we make, those are attacks that have genuinely been carried out by our forces."

U.S. and NATO officials have said Karzai's reluctance to sign the agreement is putting in jeopardy their plans for helping Afghanistan with security after a drawdown of foreign troops by the end of 2014.

On January 27, Afghan authorities announced their intention to release 37 prisoners blamed by the U.S. military for deadly attacks on foreign and government troops. The United States has condemned the move.

With reporting by "The Washington Post"