White House calls Karzai comments on United Nations ‘genuinely troubling’

Jon Ward Contributor
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White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was not amused Friday by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s accusation Thursday that United Nations officials meddled in last summer’s Afghan elections.

Gibbs called Karzai’s comments “genuinely troubling,” during a briefing with reporters in his West Wing office on Friday.

“Without a doubt these are troubling comments,” Gibbs said. “We’ve asked him to clarify the meaning of what he said.”

Karzai, just days after President Obama made a dangerous trip to Kabul to meet with him and stress the need for good governance, on Thursday lashed out at Western officials for meddling in Afghan affairs.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Karzai accused former U.N. official Peter Galbraith of trying to bribe election commission members to delay a vote count so western officials could force Karzai into a coalition government.

Gibbs sounded frustrated that Karzai appeared to be deflecting blame for ongoing problems with corruption and governance in Afghanistan.

“There were allegations of fraud,” Gibbs said, referring to allegations made by Galbraith last summer, who did in fact raise the prospect of replacing Karzai.

“Allegations were looked into. Ballots for a number of candidates were thrown out,” Gibbs said. “But the Afghans elected President Karzai.”

“That’s all been dealt with. The focus has to be on moving forward,” Gibbs said.

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