Perhaps he was attempting to curry favor with the Afghan consultative council, which has harshly criticized him for not signing a bilateral security agreement with the United States, but President Hamid Karzai was way off base in accusing American forces of not respecting the safety of the Afghan people in their homes.
To be sure, the drone strike that killed a child and wounded two women a week ago is an incident that must be fully investigated by NATO. However, Karzai knows better — or he should know better after more than a decade of national security, courtesy of the U.S. and its allies — than to imply that the killing of a child was intentional or reflected a care-less attitude toward civilians.
Indeed, the prompt apology from Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to the president is certainly indicative of how seriously American and NATO troops take their role as the givers of freedom to the Afghan people.
“He [Dunford] talked to President Karzai directly, expressed deep regrets for the incident and any civilian casualties, and promised to convene an immediate joint investigation to determine all the facts,” the commander’s spokesman, Col. David Lapan, said in an email to the Associated Press.
Even so, the mercurial head of the country — it was once ruled with an iron fist by the Islamic extremist Taliban — not only used the death of the child to try to appease his critics, but he revealed the true nature of his verbal attack when he raised the specter of not signing the security agreement.
The pact — a draft was approved by the consultative Afghan council known as a Loya Jirga — would allow thousands of Americans to stay in the country beyond a 2014 withdrawal deadline.
The 2,500-member Loya Jirga has demanded that Karzai sign it by the end of next month. However, the president has said he wants to leave it up to his successor after April 5 elections.
Given the uncertainty of what lies ahead politically, the bilateral agreement is essential to ensure that the Taliban extremists, who have the support of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations, do not attempt a return to power.
Karzai’s criticism of American troops is better directed at the Islamists who kept Afghanistan in the Stone Age during their long reign. They governed with brute force — wrapped in Shariah law.
Thousands of Afghans, including women and children, were arbitrarily put to death. There was no freedom of speech or religion, and women were considered second-class citizens.
It is also instructive that the Taliban provided al-Qaida with a safe haven, thus allowing the terror group, led by Osama bin Laden, to set up training camps. It was in those camps that 19 of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists responsible for the deadly attack on America’s homeland were selected to commandeer three U.S. airliners and turn them into weapons of mass destruction. One was flown into the twin towers in New York City, another into the Pentagon and the third crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
More than 3,000 people died.
In response, President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, resulting in the ouster of the Taliban.
Democracy has replaced Islamic theocracy, women have new-found rights, and children are attending school.
Karzai insults the thousands of Americans who have died saving his miserable country when he charges that the attacks on civilian homes are intentional.