Afghan President Hamid Karzai reportedly believes that the U.S. government and military have been a hidden force behind recent insurgent attacks in Afghanistan, such as an attack earlier this month that killed 21 people, including three Americans, in Kabul.
The Washington Post, citing an Afghan official who it said was sympathetic to Karzai's view, reported that the Afghan leader believes that dozens of attacks blamed on the Taliban have been planned by the U.S. to weaken his government and foment instability in the country. The official did acknowledge that Karzai had no concrete evidence of American involvement in any attack.
The report is another sign of the deepening rift between the U.S. and Karzai, who has continued to refuse to sign a tentative security agreement allowing for American troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, preferring to leave the issue for his successor following Afghanistan's April presidential election.
U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham told the Post that Karzai's reported suspicions represented "a deeply conspiratorial view that's divorced from reality ... It flies in the face of logic and morality to think that we would aid the enemy we’re trying to defeat."
Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan added, "We have spent 12 years trying to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan in the face of threats from terrorist and insurgent networks . . . to suggest otherwise does a grave disservice to those who have sacrificed for the people of Afghanistan."
According to the Afghan official quoted by the Post, Karzai's theory is based on suspicions that the attacks are intended to draw attention away from civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes. In addition, the official contends that attacks like that on the Kabul restaurant were "too sophisticated to be the handiwork" of the Taliban.
For their part, the Taliban have rejected any possibility of the U.S. playing a role in their attacks, with spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid telling the Post, "Whatever claims [of responsibility] we make, those are attacks that have genuinely been carried out by our forces."