Afghan president lashes out at US 'threats'

Secretary of State John Kerry walks to a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Monday, March 25, 2013. Kerry embarked on talks Monday with Karzai amid concerns Karzai may be jeopardizing progress in the war against extremism with his anti-American rhetoric. The session came shortly after the U.S. military ceded control of its last detention facility in Afghanistan, ending a longstanding irritant in relations. (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool)

PARIS (AP) Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has lashed out at the United States, accusing it of making threats in the dispute over an agreement to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014.

In an interview with the French daily Le Monde, Karzai says the U.S. is "absolutely" acting like a colonial power in its attempts to force him to sign the bilateral security agreement by the end of this year. The paper quoted him as assaying: "The threats they are making, `We won't pay salaries, we'll drive you into a civil war.' These are threats."

Washington and NATO officials say the pact is critical to the plan to keep thousands of forces in Afghanistan after 2014 for a training and counterterrorism mission.



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