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Former Afghan leader hits out at US for bringing ‘immense suffering’ to the people

AFGHANISTAN’S former president Hamid Karzai welcomed a potential peace deal in the country today but criticised the United States for bringing “immense suffering to the Afghan people.”

The deal, which is to be signed on Saturday in Qatar, will pave the way for the eventual withdrawal of 13,000 US troops, as well as for negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government and leaders.

Mr Karzai thanked Americans for their generosity, but hit out at the US government and military’s legacy.

He was installed as Afghanistan’s first post-Taliban leader in 2001 after the US-led coalition started its war against the Taliban, ostensibly in retaliation for the  September 11 attack, and ruled until 2014.

Mr Karzai previously criticised night raids on rural villages carried out by US forces and their Afghan allies hunting Taliban insurgents, calling it a tactic to drive many Taliban members who had returned to their homes back onto the battlefield.

He thanked the American people for the help in improving Afghan society, adding that they understand, respect and admire their “good intentions.”

“To the US government, to the US military, we say you were very heavy-handed against the Afghan people,” he said. “You bombed our villages [and] brought immense suffering to the Afghan people.

“So 18 years on, we have mixed feelings of gratitude to the international community for providing the taxpayers’ money to Afghanistan and one of anger at the way we were treated as a people.”

Mr Karzai said it was time for Afghans “to take responsibility” for their future and “live by our own means.”

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