GOP lawmaker refuses to apologize to Karzai, despite Afghanistan ban

A GOP lawmaker is refusing to apologize for his scathing critique of the current Afghan government, a day after those comments effectively got him banned from entering the country in the future.

“I will not apologize to Karzai or any other corrupt leader," Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told The Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Afghanistan is failing because Karzai and his corrupt clique are incompetent leaders, not because the U.S. hasn’t pumped enough money or blood to help the brave people of Afghanistan," the California Republican added in his e-mail Monday night.

Those types of comments drew the ire of Karzai and other top leaders in his government and got Rohrabacher banned from entering Afghanistan back in April.

When asked during a Monday interview on CNN's "Situation Room" if he would reconsider allowing the congressman back into the country in the future, Karzai replied: "Definitely not ... until he changes his stand, shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life."


In response, Rohrabacher said he had "deep respect for the Afghan people" and it was that deep concern which prompted his harsh criticism of Karzai's regime.

"Karzai represents corrupt and incompetent leadership and a top down structure of government that is totally inconsistent with Afghan tradition and culture," he said.

Accusations of widespread corruption within Kabul have been a growing concern inside the Pentagon, especially as U.S. troops prepare to hand over all security operations of Afghan forces by 2013.

However, arguments by Rohrabacher and others that Afghanistan should be split into separate parts and governed by a more decentralized government structure drew a particularly sharp response by Karzai on Monday.

"A democratically-elected congressman of the United States of America should not be talking of an ethnic divide in Afghanistan, should not be interfering in Afghanistan's internal affairs," Karzai said. "If an Afghan did that [about America] how would you react?"

Rohrabacher denies ever having called for splitting up Afghanistan, saying Karzai and others have "totally misrepresented my position" on the issue.

That said, the California Republican said he has other, more pressing concerns than being allowed to return to Afghanistan.

“I’m more concerned with getting American troops out of that country so they won’t continue to needlessly die than I am getting myself into Afghanistan to meet with officials like Karzai," he said.