The following day, Karzai lashed out again, repeating his allegations to an audience in Helmand province that the Taliban were serving U.S. interests.
"The Taliban use special planes to fly abroad and hold talks with foreigners, drinking tea and coffee, then come to Kabul and kill innocent people. They say 'we're showing them (the U.S.) our power,' but this serves them."
Karzai has a history of inflammatory remarks – he once threatened to join the Taliban himself – but his recent speeches appear to have caught many off guard. They come as Karzai and U.S. officials appear increasingly at odds over the fate of the Parwan detention facility. Karzai has demanded the entire facility and all detainees be handed over to Afghan control, citing it as a matter of Afghan sovereignty. The U.S. has so far refused, saying Karzai's plan to release some of the detainees would put troops in harm's way. Karzai says the detainees are innocent, while the coalition insists some are hardcore militants who would return to join the insurgency.
A long-promised handover of the prison from U.S. to Afghan control was postponed this week, seen as yet another snub to Karzai. In a tersely worded statement from Karzai's palace following a meeting with Dunford on Wednesday, he warned that his decision on the prison was final and that "any more delays could harm bilateral relations" between Afghanistan and the United States.
In response, a coalition statement said the transfer would only occur if it mitigated "the real threats that some of these detainees pose to Afghan and Coalition forces."
"We will complete the transfer when the remaining issues have been resolved," Dunford said in the statement, yet another apparent snub after Karzai's insistence the facility be transferred immediately.