Karzai bans congressman from Afghanistan until he 'shows respect'

A House Republican who has been an outspoken critic of Afghanistan's central government has been banned from entering the country, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday.

Appearing on CNN's "The Situation Room," Karzai was asked if he would allow Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, into Afghanistan if the lawmaker requested. 


"Definitely not ... until he changes his stand, shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution," Karzai replied. "It's is a matter of principle." 

Rohrabacher was denied entry into the country in April when he attempted to visit the country as part of a congressional delegation headed by Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertGOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection 21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol GOP's Gohmert, Clyde file lawsuit over metal detector fines MORE (R-Texas).

Rohrabacher has been severely critical of the Afghanistan government, accusing Karzai of corruption and suggesting significant structural reforms are needed to his government. 

He was one of several members of Congress who met with leaders of the Northern Alliance and other groups in Berlin that want a more decentralized governing system.

The issue of government corruption in Afghanistan was one of many issues American and NATO officials debated during the alliance's annual summit in Chicago on Sunday. 

Karzai on Monday made the case that neither Rohrabacher, nor any American lawmaker, has the right to dictate what should and should not be done within the Afghan government. 

"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 ... should not be speaking disrespectfully about the Afghan people or the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan," Karzai said. "If an Afghan did that [about America] how would you react?" 

Back in April, Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby told reporters the California Republican's denial of entry into Afghanistan was merely “isolated incident” that involved a single congressman. 

Karzai's decision to block Rohrabacher from Afghanistan did not represent a larger problem with congressional delegations traveling to Afghanistan, Kirby said at the time.