Afghan president ‘has lost faith in US ability to defeat Taliban’


Jon Boone
London Guardian
June 10, 2010

President Hamid Karzai has lost faith in the US strategy in Afghanistan and is increasingly looking to Pakistan to end the insurgency, according to those close to Afghanistan’s former head of intelligence services.

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Amrullah Saleh, who resigned last weekend, believes the president lost confidence some time ago in the ability of Nato forces to defeat the Taliban.

As head of the National Directorate of Security, Saleh was highly regarded in western circles. He has said little about why he quit, other than that the Taliban attack on last week’s peace jirga or assembly in Kabul was for him the “tipping point”; the interior minister, Hanif Atmar, also quit, and their resignations were accepted by Karzai.

Privately Saleh has told aides he believes Karzai’s approach is dangerously out of step with the strategy of his western backers. “There came a time when [Karzai] lost his confidence in the capability of the coalition or even his own government [to protect] this country,” a key aide told the Guardian.

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