Afghanistan president Karzai ramps up anti-American rhetoric, demands airstrikes end

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from FoxNews,

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the United States must cease military operations and airstrikes, as well as resume peace talks with the Taliban, before he signs a security deal to keep some U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond this year.

Karzai’s deepening anti-American rhetoric comes as the Taliban intensifies its assaults ahead of the planned withdrawal and after Friday’s militant raid on a popular Kabul restaurant, the deadliest single attack against foreign civilians since U.S-led operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.

Although Karzai has made similar demands in the past, he has in recent weeks ratcheted up his condemnations of alleged U.S. failures as Afghans look fearfully ahead to an uncertain future.

The U.S. had wanted the deal to be signed by the end of last year because it needs time to prepare to keep thousands of U.S. troops in the country for up to a decade. NATO allies also have said they won’t stay if the Americans pull out.

The agreement aims to help train and develop Afghan forces, while also allowing for a smaller counterterrorism force to pursue Al Qaeda fighters and other groups.

Karzai’s demand to stop military operations and airstrikes is a response to the findings of an investigation into a joint Afghan-U.S. military operation last week that resulted in civilian casualties, which Karzai blamed on a U.S. military air strike.

The U.S.-led international military coalition, however, provided a sharply different account Sunday of what happened during the two-day operation against insurgents in eastern Parwan province, saying it was an Afghan-led effort and carried out at the request of the government.

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