Washington, D.C.— Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) released the statement below concerning recent remarks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that inaccurately characterize the nature and intent of the NATO presence in Afghanistan:


“I find the recent statements of President Karzai to be extremely troubling, and I hope that he will retract or clarify them.   Our current strategy in Afghanistan ultimately depends on leaving behind a civilian government that can help secure that country against al Qa’ida and the Taliban.  President Karzai’s recent statements do not help to further that end.  But we should also keep in mind that we are in Afghanistan to defeat al Qa’ida and prevent them from using Afghanistan as a safe haven from which to again attack us.  I do not think that we should allow some intemperate remarks clearly designed for domestic political purposes to undermine what I continue to believe is the best strategy to protect American security.”