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KABUL - Outgoing President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday blamed the United States for Afghanistan's long war in a final swipe at the country that helped bring him to power 13 years ago but towards which he has become increasingly bitter. His farewell speech came days ahead of the swearing in of a new president, Ashraf Ghani, after months of turmoil over a disputed election that ended in a power-sharing deal.
Karzai blamed both the U.S. and neighboring Pakistan for the continuing war with the Taliban-led insurgency and warned the new government to be "extra cautious in relations with the U.S." The conflict kills thousands of Afghans each year and has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 American and other international forces. "One of the reasons was that the Americans did not want peace because they had their own agenda and objectives," Karzai said without elaborating. U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham called Karzai's comments "ungracious and ungrateful." "It makes me kind of sad. His remarks, which were uncalled for, do a disservice to the American people and dishonor the sacrifices made by Americans here," Cunningham said.
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