Karzai blocks Rohrabacher's Afghan visit

Published: April 24, 2012

Clinton personally relayed Karzai's message and personally petitioned Dana not to continue on with the delegation. PHOTO: AGENCIES/FILE

WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker critical of President Hamid Karzai was barred entry to Afghanistan as part of a congressional delegation meeting with Afghan opposition groups, his office said Monday.

Republican Dana Rohrabacher’s office said he was a “last-minute” addition to the delegation when one of the members canceled days before traveling. He was prevented from traveling on Friday.

Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has been a vocal critic of the “corrupt Karzai government and the US failed strategy of foisting a western-style democracy from a central government in Kabul,” his communications director Tara Setmayer told AFP.

Last month, he called for a US investigation into whether Karzai is misappropriating foreign aid funding to benefit himself and his family, at a time when Congress was considering President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal that includes $2.5 billion for Afghanistan.

“When Karzai found out Dana was a part of the CODEL (congressional delegation), he told the State Department the entire CODEL would be denied if Rohrabacher was included,” Setmayer said.

“So, Secretary (Hillary) Clinton personally relayed Karzai’s message and personally petitioned Dana not to continue on with the delegation. Out of respect, he obliged and stayed behind in Dubai.”

The delegation continued on without him, and Setmayer said the lawmakers met Sunday with former leaders of the Northern Alliance, which cooperated with the United States to oust the Taliban from power after the September 11 attacks of 2001.

Texas Republican Louie Gohmert was part of the delegation that was in Afghanistan over the weekend, his staff confirmed.

The delegation dispute comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Kabul.

The congressman made headlines recently in Pakistan when he chaired a Congressional hearing on Balochistan, wherein he introduced a resolution in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to recognise the Baloch right to self determination.

The 130,000-strong US-led NATO force helping the Afghan government fight a decade-long Taliban insurgency is due to end combat operations and pull out by the end of 2014 and the two countries are in talks about their future relations.

Officials on both sides have expressed hope that a strategic partnership agreement governing post-2014 ties could be signed ahead of a NATO summit in Chicago next month.

Negotiations have been further complicated by a US soldier’s murderous rampage that left 17 Afghan villagers dead. Staff Sergeant Robert Bales has since been flown out of the country back to the United States.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 24, 2012 - 2:09AM

    look it his face …..Recommend

  • Apr 24, 2012 - 3:18AM

    Even Afghanistan can show the guts to stop this Bas”"”" … Pakistan needs to be brave.

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  • Hafeez
    Apr 24, 2012 - 3:27AM

    Karzai got some guts, unlike our leaders.

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Apr 24, 2012 - 3:33AM

    Well done Karzai. This guy is ready for retirement in redneck country.

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  • Apr 24, 2012 - 3:38AM

    s.o.b

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  • Ajaz Haque
    Apr 24, 2012 - 3:57AM

    If US Congress is serious about normalizing relations with Pakistan, then they better muzzle this Rottweiler, who barks all the time. This man is a disgrace to US Congress and the citizens of US.

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  • Amjad
    Apr 24, 2012 - 4:18AM

    Rohrbacher commands little respect among the US public so why does he make such big headlines in Pakistan and Afghanistan? He is just another congressman who is trying to pander to his Texas constituency of red necks. There are many more decent Americans who find this man inappropriate and out of touch with reality. Even the US government State Department has distanced itself from his comments.

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  • SAK
    Apr 24, 2012 - 4:35AM

    Hence proved, Karzai is more powerfull then Zardari…

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  • Ali
    Apr 24, 2012 - 5:06AM

    Karzai showed the ghairat that we as a nation can only dream of.

    Recommend

  • RaoAkhtar
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:00AM

    Courageous message to US congressmen,weldone Karzai

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  • Apr 24, 2012 - 7:03AM

    Irrespective of the fact that Karzai Govt is corrupt,the President showed courage by conveying the message that such and such person is unwelconned in his country.We must also learn to say no.

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  • Concern1
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:07AM

    This scumbag Rohrbacher is nothing but a slave of the zionist jews he barks on Islam, Pakistan, Afghanistan when his jewish masters throws him a bone.

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  • Shahzad
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:11AM

    All he said Karzai was corrupt and don’t make Pskistan’s Baluchistan into something like India’s occupied Kashmir

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  • Aamir
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:14AM

    Bravo Mr. Karzai, I salute you for showing courage and keeping this douche-bag out of Afghanistan.

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  • khaliq
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:39AM

    If I were in place of karzai,I would let him come.as soon as he entered in afghanistan,I would get him admitted in a mental hospital.

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  • sid Taji
    Apr 24, 2012 - 7:43AM

    Pakistani leaders needs to follow the suit and block his entry into Pakistan also. At least some body had the courage to put mud on his face. Recommend

  • SK - Salman
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:25AM

    I do not understand what the commenters here are celebrating and crowing about. Karzai is known internationally as one of the most corrupt leaders. That he has gutso to obstruct entry to the Chairman of the Oversight Committee of US Congress only shows that Karzai is brazenly corrupt, not much else. As long as US Forces are in Afghanistan no U.S. Congressman or Senator has the capacity to stop funds flowing into Afghanistan, and Karzai knows this well. Karzai is asking for U.S. ouster publicly and pleading for them to stay internally.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:44AM

    Look at the guts of Americans congressmen they talk against and move bills in their assemblies on issues just to humiliate own allies and wants to visit as delegation and in the end land up at New Delhi with big smiles.Americans have gone little psychos after Iraq and Afghan episode.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:56AM

    @Shahzad:
    may be it is ok with you or being innocent but what Dana is saying and doing only suits his financiers,they have mis used our courtesy and remained involved in double gaming always.

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  • narayana murthy
    Apr 24, 2012 - 1:31PM

    @Imran Mohammed who writes “Well done Karzai. This guy is ready for retirement in redneck country.”

    What? Now Pakistan has started taking in American senators? Because the only redneck country in this world is Pakistan.

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  • Cautious
    Apr 24, 2012 - 6:13PM

    Last month, he called for a US
    investigation into whether Karzai is
    misappropriating foreign aid funding
    to benefit himself and his family,

    Good for him – his views on both Pakistan and Afghanistan may not be popular on this forum but that doesn’t make then inaccurate.

    Recommend

  • Ghaznawi
    Apr 24, 2012 - 8:28PM

    Dana Rohrbacher was blocked from entering Afghanistan because he met with Northern Alliance leaders in Berlin back in January to discuss implementing a federal system in Afghanistan. Karzai is opposed to a federal system and he showed real courage in standing up to some elements of the Northern Alliance that are proponents of the system and also demonstrated his independence by barring Rohrbacher entry into Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Apr 24, 2012 - 9:29PM

    @All Pakistani Commentators:

    You don’t necessarily have to be abusive to convey your anger and dislike for Mr. Rohrabacher. I am also not a fan of him but crossing limits of decency to convey your resentment is not a good thing for your own image.

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  • j. von hettlingen
    Apr 25, 2012 - 7:33PM

    In Hamid Karzai’s eyes Rohrabacher is seen as an instigator. He’s not welcome as he criticises Karzai’s governance and questions the political system of Afghanistan. He was being shunned because of meetings he had held in Berlin with Afghan politicians about the creation of a decentralised form of government.

    Recommend

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