Karzai urged US to back 'threatened' Zardari: WikiLeaks
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai urged United States Senators to secure strong American support for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in his efforts to free his country from extremism, according to a classified US diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website Wikileaks.
According to the cable sent to Washington from the US embassy in Kabul, Karzai had approached Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham when they dined with him at the Afghan presidential palace in December 2008.
"Flanked by many from his cabinet, including the foreign and defense ministers, Karzai urged the Senators to secure strong US support for Pakistan President Zardari in his efforts to free Pakistan from extremism, noted the progress Afghanistan has made with the support of international assistance, welcomed incoming US forces and described efforts to combat widespread corruption," The News quoted the cable, as saying.
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Image: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai (C) waves as he and Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari (R) depart with US President Barack Obama (L) after addrerssing a joint conference at the White House
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
'Zardari is lonely, threatened and under siege'
Responding to Senator McCain's comment that the delegation had just arrived from meetings in Islamabad, Karzai stressed the importance of US support for Pakistan's president, calling Zardari "a good man who wants to free his country from extremists."
"Karzai noted that he had an excellent relationship with Zardari and felt the two had a special rapport, adding 'never in 60 years of Pakistan's history have we had such good bilateral relations'," the cable said.
The documents also revealed that Karzai felt that the Pakistani president was "lonely, threatened and under siege."
Image: President Zardari addresses a news conference at the European Union Council in Brussels
Photographs: Francois Lenoir/Reuters
'Give Zardari all you can; forget his past'
"Zardari believed he received too little support from the international community: India was still wary because of historic enmity between the two countries; Russia withheld its support because Pakistan had helped the Afghans defeat the Soviets; China disapproved of Zardari's close relationship with the US; and the Arab countries wouldn't support him because he wasn't 'one of them'," the cable said.
"Karzai urged the Senators: 'America is the only place he can turn -- help him. Give him all you can; forget his past', it added.
Image: Afghan President Karzai (R) speaks to his Pakistani counterpart Zardari during a news conference in Kabul
Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters