Hamid Karzai says US and Taliban work hand-in-hand
Afghan policemen stand over the bodies of civilians killed by a suicide bomber in the eastern province of Khost - Reuters

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the Taliban and the US of working hand-in-hand to ensure the continued presence of Nato troops in his country.

During a televised address, Karzai said the two recent suicide attacks carried out in Kabul, which killed 19 people, show the Afghan Taliban "are at the service of America and at the service of this phrase: next year.

"They are trying to frighten us into thinking that if the foreigners are not in Afghanistan, we would be facing these sorts of incidents."

Pointing out that the US no longer considers the Taliban as its enemy, the President continued: "Yesterday's explosions, which the Taliban claimed, show that in reality they are saying they want the presence of foreigners in Afghanistan."

The US-led Nato forces in Afghan have not yet responded to the allegations.

Karzai insisted that foreign troops which intend to stay in the country should meet the demands of the Afghan government.

"We will tell them where we need them, and under which conditions. They must respect our laws. They must respect the national sovereignty of our country and must respect all our customs."

He added that US officials are holding talks with the representatives of Taliban "on a daily basis" in Qatar. But the Taliban's spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, said his movement "strongly rejects Karzai's comments."

Karzai's remarks come at a time when US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting American troops in Afghanistan. Hagel and Karzai are due to hold talks.