Kabul: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to justify its presence in Afghanistan, dumbfounding US officials during a problematic visit by the new Pentagon chief. (Agencies)
A joint news conference by Karzai and US defence secretary Chuck Hagel was cancelled on Sunday, as the Afghan leader's allegations compounded the troubled nature of the visit after a security scare from twin bomb attacks on Saturday.
"The bombs that were detonated in Kabul and Khost were not a show of force, they were serving America," Karzai said in a televised speech, referring to the two suicide blasts in which 19 people were killed.
The President said the United States was in "daily" talks with the Taliban and that insurgent suicide attacks enabled the international military force to vindicate its deployment in Afghanistan.
"It is their slogan for 2014, scaring us that if the US is not here our people will be eliminated," he said, as US-led combat troops begin a long withdrawal after more than a decade of war.
Karzai, who has frequently lashed out at perceived US slights through inflammatory language, was angered by a new delay to the planned transfer of the controversial Bagram jail from US to Afghan control.
He is also adamant that his government must be involved in any US-Taliban contacts, although the Islamist militia dismisses him as a US puppet and says no dialogue has taken place with the Americans since a year ago.
Karzai insisted that in "Europe as well as in Gulf countries, the Taliban and the Americans and foreigners are in talks on a daily basis".
The President's news conference with Hagel was scrapped just a few hours before it was due to be held at the Presidential palace in Kabul, with US officials citing unspecified security concerns.
The Pentagon chief, on his first official visit to Afghanistan after he endured a difficult confirmation process by the US Senate, tried to downplay tensions with Karzai after they met in private.
Kabul: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban to justify its presence in Afghanistan, dumbfounding US officials during a problematic visit by the new Pentagon chief.