April 2nd, 2010
02:26 PM ET

White House calls Karzai comments 'troubling'

The White House says Afghan President Hamid Karzai has some explaining to do, and is calling his recent comments "troubling."

Just days after hosting President Barack Obama on his surprise trip to Afghanistan, Karzai accused the United States and other Western governments of wanting a "puppet government" in Afghanistan, and orchestrating fraud in the recent Afghan elections.

In an off-camera gaggle with reporters Friday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the remarks were "cause for real and genuine concern."

"We are seeking clarification" from Karzai, Gibbs said.

"There were allegations of fraud. Allegations were looked into. Ballots for a number of candidates were thrown out. But the Afghans elected President Karzai. That's all been dealt with," and the focus must be on building a credible and stable Afghan government, Gibbs said. "Again, without a doubt these are troubling comments."

A U.N.-backed panel found fraud in last August's Afghan presidential election and invalidated nearly a third of Karzai's votes. Karzai was eventually declared the winner after his closest challenger withdrew from a runoff election.

On his visit to Afghanistan last weekend, the president was clear with Karzai of the "necessary steps" needed to improve governance and root out corruption in order to deal with the huge challenges the country faces, Gibbs said.

Gibbs also made a point to stress the important work American and NATO soldiers are doing to establish security and allow the Afghan government to take hold in places like Marjah in Helmand province.

"Those security gains are only solidified if there is competent governance in those areas once the Taliban is pushed out."

Gibbs said President Karzai's scheduled visit to Washington in May is still scheduled.

Read more about Karzai's comments at CNN's Afghanistan Crossroads blog

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • World
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. A. Smith, Oregon

    The moment it was learned that Karzi's brother was one of the major exporters of the massive Afghanistan's Opium crops and was on the CIA pay-roll as was President Karzi (on the CIA pay-roll), Karzi's time in office was limited and fast running out.

    It's time for America to Loudly Demand that the CIA get out of Drug Smuggling, regardless if it is Cocaine that brought from South America during the Iran-Contra Cocaine for Arms affair or the 50 fold increase in Opium which is flooding Russia, the Middle East and America's grade schools with cheap Heroin.

    President Karzi has been a vocal critic of the CIA midnight raids which have slaughtered a great many Afghanistan women and children by accident. In one of the more heinous and horrific raids that slaughtered a large number of children, women and young Afghanistan men, Karzi went out of his way to specifically finger the CIA as the culprits and NOT the US Military forces whom the Afghanistan people were extremely angry with over that.

    Undoubtedly many US Military soldiers were killed and blown up directly as a result of that botched midnight raid by the CIA when surviving family members that were previously neutral picked up arms and explosives and joined the Taliban.

    April 2, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mohammad

    It is very common to use force to fraud in elections. I don't know why people are surpeised about it now. Do you think Karzai goverment is popular Goverment?? If so then why to don't have control beyond Kabul?

    Fact is this not elected goverment anf it is better to bring elected goverment even it is Taliban to close this dispute coming from lat 31 years.

    US has to defferent than USSR otherwise there will not any peace in Afghanistan


    April 3, 2010 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |