Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday that he took responsibility for corruption in the country, while also admitting that the United States was involved in it as well.
“[I take] full responsibility for the corruption and bribes in the delivery of services … But the big contracts, big corruption, in hundreds of millions of dollars or millions of dollars, was clearly a United States of America thing,” Karzai told The Washington Post.
According to the newspaper, the former president lives in Kabul where he is closely watched by the Taliban (under UN sanctions for terrorism) that do not let him leave the Afghan capital.
Karzai, however, said that he had made the right decision to stay in the country even after the Taliban takeover in August 2021.
“I was not sure of my own safety [after the Taliban came to power]. But I would have never left and I will never leave. This is my country,” the former Afghan leader noted.
The Washington Post reported that the Taliban see Karzai as their adversary as he was “the first individual who worked with the Americans for the occupation of Afghanistan.”
The Taliban came to power in August 2021, toppling the US-backed government as foreign troops were leaving the country, with the political crisis exacerbating the economic disarray and food shortages that have pushed the country to the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
Karzai was Afghanistan’s president from December 2004 to September 2014. He was the first leader of the country after the US toppled the Taliban government in 2001 following their military operation in response to September 11 attacks, the deadliest terrorist attacks on US soil.