KABUL Nov 26 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)