- Associated Press - Thursday, September 2, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that the sometimes strained relationship between the United States and Afghan President Hamid Karzai is solid.

Gen. David H. Petraeus said Mr. Karzai shares America’s concerns about corruption in his country. Gen. Petraeus acknowledged “friction” over the case of a close Karzai aide arrested this summer in a corruption probe. The aide was released after Mr. Karzai intervened.

Gen. Petraeus said he heard Mr. Karzai assure President Obama that he will back the work of U.S.-sponsored anticorruption investigators.

The United States has said it views the case of Mohammed Zia Salehi as a test of Mr. Karzai’s willingness to take on graft and sleaze in his government.

Mr. Salehi was arrested by Afghan police after allegedly being wiretapped discussing a bribe. He called Mr. Karzai from his jail cell in July and was freed hours later.

Soon afterward, Mr. Karzai blasted the work of the U.S.-backed corruption investigators involved in that case and sought more control over them.

“President Karzai is the first to note that more has to be done” about corruption overall, Gen. Petraeus told reporters. He said “friction” over the Salehi case has been resolved.

“It’s a relationship in which there is candor,” Gen. Petraeus said. “We do not always come at every issue from the same perspective, but I think that’s a reflection of the strength of the relationship.”


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