Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s first meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a bumpy ride that included public criticism of America’s military role followed by an abrupt cancellation of a planned press conference.
Mr. Hagel opened the meeting by declaring, “We are still at war,” NBC reports. Mr. Karzai, meanwhile, went on national television and condemned much of the U.S. military’s actions in Afghanistan, drumming up angst by accusing American and the Taliban of daily negotiations to extend operations past 2014, various media reported.
The commander of coalition forces, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, was forced to issue a response to Mr. Karzai’s claims of the Taliban attacks, calling them “categorically false,” NBC said. But in private meetings, Mr. Karzai continued to make the claims — ratcheting up tensions with Mr. Hagel and confusing an already volatile situation.
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Cheryl Chumley is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She’s also a 2008-2009 Robert Novak journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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