Afghan president wishes he could down U.S. planes

KABUL Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:51pm IST

KABUL Nov 26 (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday he would bring down U.S. planes bombing villages if he could, in a sign of growing tension between Afghanistan and its Western backers as the Taliban insurgency grows in strength.

As Western dissatisfaction with Karzai has grown over his failure to crack down on corruption and govern effectively, the Afghan president, facing elections next year, has hit back over the killing of dozens of civilians in foreign air strikes.

In recent weeks, Karzai has repeatedly blamed the West for the worsening security in Afghanistan, saying NATO failed to target Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan and calling for the war to be taken out of Afghan villages.

"We have no other choice, we have no power to stop the planes, if we could, if I could ... we would stop them and bring them down," Karzai told a news conference.

He said that if he had something like the rock attached to a piece of string, known as a chelak in Dari, used to bring down kites in Afghanistan, he would use it.

"If we had a chelak, we would throw it and stop the American aircraft. We have no radar to stop them in the sky, we have no planes," he said. "I wish I could intercept the planes that are going to bomb Afghan villages, but that's not in my hands."

Afghanistan has suffered its worst violence this year since U.S.-led and Afghan forces overthrew the Taliban in 2001, with at least 4,000 people killed, around a third of them civilians.

Despite the presence of 65,000 foreign troops backing 130,000 Afghan security forces, Taliban insurgents have grown increasingly confident in their traditional heartland in the south and east and have also extended their influence close to the capital, Kabul. (Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin; Writing by Jon Hemming; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Shares Hit Record

Sensex, Nifty rise to second consecutive record high

Sensex surges 500 points on BOJ easing, L&T gains

The BSE Sensex and Nifty surged to record highs for a second consecutive session on Friday after Bank of Japan's surprise expansion of its massive stimulus programme raised hopes for additional foreign inflows, boosting blue-chips such as Larsen & Toubro.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Indian Economy

Indian Economy

India's fiscal deficit in H1 almost 83 pct of full-year target.  Full Article 

M&M Earnings

M&M Earnings

M&M Q2 net profit down 4 percent, hit by poor monsoon.  Full Article 

Ban on E-Cigs?

Ban on E-Cigs?

Govt considers ban on e-cigarettes, sale of single smokes.  Full Article 

Commodities

Commodities

Silver futures in India hit four-year low on global cues.  Full Article 

BOJ Policy

BOJ Policy

BOJ shocks markets with surprise easing as inflation slows.  Full Article 

Shadow Banking

Shadow Banking

China's shadow banking sector growing rapidly, third largest in world - FSB.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage