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US prays for health, but gives medicine to keep us unwell: Karzai
Sunday December 15, 2013 1:01 AM, IANS

Afghan President Hamid Karzai Saturday used a Urdu couplet to express his frustration over tensions with the US on inking a security agreement, and said if Washington was willing to accommodate Afghan concerns the deal could work out to be a win-win for both sides.

Hamid Karzai in India

[Photo Caption: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh meeting President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, in New Delhi on December 13, 2013.]

Addressing media persons here, Karzai said he did not want the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to be an "either, or" deal but wanted it to be profitable to both sides.

He said the US wants Afghanistan to accept billions of dollars in aid in exchange for putting the country in a continuing state of war.

"Ask any Afghan if they want continuous attacks of civilians and bombing of houses in the name of fighting terrorism or they want to be at peace in their homes, and they will say they want the security of their homes and people and the peace process (with the Taliban)," Karzai said.

The US should frame the BSA in such a way so that it can help Afghanistan and launch the peace process, he said.

"They (US) have to make it a win-win for both," he said.

Karzai then recited a Hindi couplet, "Dua detey hain jeeney ki, dawa detey hain marne ki (They pray for our lives but give us medicine for death)".

He then said the second line should be qualified to read, "Dawa detey hain theek na hone ki (They give medicine so that we never get well)", to laughter from the audience.

The BSA will allow the presence of around 15,000 US forces in nine bases across the country.

Karzai has been firm on his demand that the US stop bombing Afghan homes in their search for Taliban and that the peace process with the Taliban be officially launched as a precondition for signing the BSA.

He said the US has to stop attacks on Afghan people immediately for Afghanistan to sign the agreement. "Our sensitivities have to be respected."

He expressed pain over the US bombing on supposed Taliban targets that have led to many casualties.

He mentioned the example of 16 members of an Afghan family being killed with only a 14-year-old girl left alive, with her face nearly blown off and also maimed.

"I want this to stop, the people are suffering," he said.

Karzai said after the April presidential polls that he would be a "retired president, a happy citizen with plenty of freedom to move around, and regain my freedom of speech".

Though he hit out at the US for playing a "game of brinkmanship" with Afghanistan and launching a "psychological war on Afghanistan", he said his country would "bear with it", "let it come what may".

While he criticised the US over the killing of Afghans and Washington trying to force Afghanistan to sign the BSA, he was full of praise for the US and European help in boosting his country's social indicators, like education and health care.

On Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promising to help in Afghanistan's peace and security efforts, Karzai said "he has confidence" in Sharif's sincerity and they would have to see how things turn out in the future.




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