KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai is accusing the Taliban and the U.S. of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if foreign troops leave.
Karzai says two suicide bombings that killed 17 people Saturday show the insurgent group is conducting attacks "at the service of America" to help show that international forces will still be needed to keep the peace after their current combat mission ends in 2014.
"Those bombs ... were in the service of the Americans to keep foreigners in Afghanistan longer, to keep them here," Karzai told a gathering to mark International Women's Day, Reuters reported.
Karzai, who spoke Sunday during a nationally televised speech about the state of Afghan women, is currently negotiating a pact with the U.S. for the long-term presence of American forces.
There was no immediate response from the U.S.-led military coalition.
It is unclear what prompted Karzai's remarks, but the Afghan president has previously made inflammatory comments as an apparent negotiating tactic.
The Taliban have for years demanded the withdrawal of foreign forces and have never suggested that they wanted them to stay.
Then, his government alleged U.S.-led forces and Afghans working with them were abusing and arresting university students and urged them to stop.
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