KABUL, Afghanistan -- On the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday expressed sorrow over the “pain and suffering of the American people” but offered a pointed critique of how the subsequent war on terror had been waged.
“The war declared on terrorism was not conducted and pursued as it should have been,” said the Afghan leader, who has lately been publicly sparring with his U.S. patrons. He said training and support for terrorist groups outside his country had been “ignored and unaddressed” by the West as Afghanistan took the brunt of the conflict.
“As a consequence ... Afghan villages and homes were once again turned into a battlefield of a ruthless war, inflicting irrecoverable losses ... both human and material,” Karzai said in a statement.
Karzai did not mention the U.S. raid into Pakistan last year to kill Osama bin Laden or the frequent American drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and Yemen.
In recent weeks, the Afghan president has been more strident in asserting Afghan sovereignty, sometimes clashing openly with the NATO force and the American administration. Earlier this week, he denounced the U.S. decision to not hand over several dozen insurgent suspects to Afghan control when the main American military detention facility was formally handed over to the Afghan government.
The 9/11 anniversary was marked in Afghanistan by solemn commemorations held at the U.S. Embassy and at American military installations.
-- Laura King
Photo: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, shown during a ceremony late last month at the presidential palace in Kabul, on Tuesday criticized the conduct of the war on terror. Credit: Ahmad Massoud / Xinhua, pool / Associated Press.