White House Refuses to Say If Karzai is U.S. Ally

Apr 6, 2010 1:52pm

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs today continued his criticism of the comments by Afghan President Hamid Karzai — and when pressed, Gibbs refused to say if Karzai was an ally of the U.S.

Speaking to Afghan lawmakers over the weekend, Karzai suggested he might have to join the Taliban himself if the United States does not stop “meddling.” Gibbs called Karzai's most recent comments "troubling," "confusing," and "untruthful."

So ABC News asked: "Is Karzai our ally?"

Gibbs' response: "Karzai is the democratically elected leader of Afghanistan."

"That’s not what I asked," ABC News noted. "Is he our ally?"

Said Gibbs: "There are times in which the actions that he takes are constructive to governance. I would say that the remarks he’s made I can’t imagine that anyone in this country found them anything other than troubling.

"So our position on this, Jake, is that when the Afghan leaders take steps to improve governance and root out corruption, then the president will say kind words," Gibbs said. "When leaders need to hear stern language from this administration about the consequences of not acting, we’ll do that as well."

- jpt

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