April 7, 2010 / 5:25 PM / in 8 years

Karzai comments totally unacceptable: Canadian PM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Recent anti-Western comments by Afghan President Hamid Karzai were completely unacceptable and a slap in the face to nations with troops stationed in Afghanistan, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Wednesday.

<p>Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a shura, or meeting, in Kandahar city April 4, 2010. REUTERS/Golnar Motevalli</p>

In a speech last week, Karzai said foreigners had bribed and threatened election workers to carry out fraud in last year’s presidential election.

“We have men and women who are over there putting their lives on the line to help the population in its struggle against the Taliban,” an unhappy Harper told a televised news conference in Mississauga, Ontario.

“These remarks are not helpful and in the context of the dangerous work that our people are doing they are completely unacceptable to Canada and I‘m sure the same is true for all of our allies,” he said.

Canada has lost 140 soldiers in Afghanistan. It has 2,800 soldiers in the southern city of Kandahar on a mission that is due to end next year.

A senior Afghan official on Wednesday played down Karzai’s comments, saying they were not aimed at specific countries and would not affect relations between Kabul and the international community.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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