Karzai Scolds West, Combats Weak Legitimacy

Afghan President Hamid Karzai caused a major uproar by turning a speech into an anti-western rant. The White House called his speech "genuinely troubling" Friday, and Karzai later called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to explain his position.

On Thursday, his position seemed to be crystal clear as the Afghan president delivered a scathing tirade against the west, foreign diplomats, the press and the U.N., all of whom he accused of trying to influence the results of last summer's elections, CBS News Correspondent Many Clark reports.

"They wanted to have a puppet regime," Karzai said. "They wanted to have a servant government."

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The scolding from Karzai is designed to counter accusations that he stole the elections. A U.N.-backed panel found more than a million ballots - a third of which were votes for him - were fraudulent, raising questions about his legitimacy.

The outburst came less than a week after President Obama's surprise visit to Kabul. In public, the talk was of a brighter future for Afghanistan with Mr. Obama highlighting "good governance, rule of law, anti corruption efforts."

In private, the president demanded a crackdown on corruption, a promise Karzai has repeatedly failed to deliver on.

One potent symbol of that failure is the president's own brother, the notorious head of the local council in Kandahar.

Ahmed Wali Karzai is accused of doing business with both drug lords and insurgents, running Kandahar as his own corrupt fiefdom and delivering thousands of fraudulent votes for his brother, which may be why he's still in office despite pressure from Washington.

Now the president is trying to turn the tables on his accusers.

"There was fraud in the presidential and provincial election, and it was committed by the foreigners," Karzai said.

In attacking the west, Karzai is trying to win support at home. He even went as far as to say that foreign troops were on the verge of becoming "invaders," a term the Taliban often uses to describe U.S. forces here.
  • Mandy Clark

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