US Ambassador Eikenberry blasts Afghan leader

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WASHINGTON - After ten years of war, the Obama administration has told the Afghan people how it really feels.

In a carefully-worded speech, America's top diplomat in Afghanistan scolded the Afghan leadership and said, in effect, how dare you complain when America's sons and daughters have died for your country?

The speech happened over the weekend but the pictures came to us only today. This is also the day President Obama made up his mind on a reduction of U.S. forces.

(Scroll down to watch more of Eikenberry's speech.)

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, has finally had enough of President Karzai's public denunciations of the American war effort.

"I must tell you that I find occasional comments from some of your leaders hurtful and inappropriate," Eikenberry said Sunday. "When we hear ourselves being called occupiers and worse and our generous aid programs are being dismissed as totally ineffective and the source of all corruption, our pride is offended and we begin to lose our inspiration to carry on."

Speaking at Herat University, renovated with American tax dollars, Eikenberry seemed to unburden himself of years of pent-up frustration.

"Mothers and fathers of fallen soldiers, spouses of soldiers who have lost arms and legs, children of those who have lost their lives in this country," Eikenberry said. "They ask themselves about the meaning of their loved ones' sacrifice."

Eikenberry, who was the military commander in Afghanistan before becoming ambassador, has long been critical of Karzai.

In a secret 2009 cable to Secretary of State Clinton, he wrote: "President Karzai is not an adequate strategic partner."

Then three weeks ago, Karzai, angered by another incident in which American forces accidentally killed civilians, publicly accused the U.S. of acting like an occupations force.

"Afghanistan is an ally," Karzai said. "Not an occupied territory."

Now, with his tour at an end, Eikenberry is responding in public.

"When Americans who are serving in your country at great cost in terms of our lives and treasures, when they hear themselves compared with occupiers and told that they are only here to advance their own narrow interests and likened to the brutal enemies of the Afghan people," Eikenberry said, "my people in turn are filled with confusion and hey grow weary of our effort here."

Eikenberry is accusing Karzai of more than just ingratitude. He's saying the president of Afghanistan doesn't get what this war is all about.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.