NATO chief rebukes Karzai, defends Afghan progress

Oct 10, 2013, 4:44 AM EDT
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks at a press conference during a Defence ministers' meeting on June 4, 2013, at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels.
AFP/Getty Images

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO's secretary-general has sharply rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai's view that the presence of international troops in his country caused much suffering but achieved few gains.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Thursday in Brussels the progress achieved in Afghanistan "thanks to the immense efforts and the solemn sacrifices" by the U.S. and other troop contributor nations "is remarkable and it cannot be denied."

Rasmussen insisted "Afghanistan has come a long way in the past 10 years."

Karzai told Britain's BBC earlier this week NATO "caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure."

The spat comes as the U.S. is negotiating an agreement over the future role of its troops in the country beyond 2014.