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Iran Press TV

Afghan president furious at US, Taliban prisoner deal

Iran Press TV

Mon Jun 2, 2014 1:16PM GMT

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is outraged over a controversial deal between the US and Taliban under which five Taliban leaders were released in exchange for a captured US soldier.

The five prisoners were transferred to Qatar on Sunday as part of a secret deal to free Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held captive in Afghanistan for five years.

An unnamed senior source at Karzai's palace in Kabul said on Monday that the Afghan president, who was being kept in the dark over the deal, accuses Washington of failing to back a peace plan for his country.

"The president is now even more distrustful of US intentions in the country," the source said, adding, "He is asking: How come the prisoner exchange worked out so well, when the Afghan peace process failed to make any significant progress?"

Karzai has backed negotiations with the Taliban, but they have come to little so far.

President Karzai is concerned about further agreements being reached behind his back, the palace official added.

Karzai, who is set to step down as president later this year, is yet to comment publicly on the swap. He has been ferociously critical of the US administration in recent years.

Relations between Kabul and Washington have been severely strained in recent years over several issues related to Afghan sovereignty. The Afghan president has censured the US for civilian casualties in airstrikes, night raids on private houses and alleged abuses by US-led forces.

He has also refused to sign the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement with the US, which would allow thousands of US soldiers to stay in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

In early February, Karzai said that he "saw no good" in the US presence in Afghanistan, noting that the US-led NATO mission has failed to bring security to the country.

MR/AB/SS



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