Rumors are swirling in Afghanistan that the country’s president, Hamid Karzai, has lost faith in the ability of the West to defeat the Taliban, and some are even accusing Karzai of trying to strike his own deal with the Taliban and archrival Pakistan.

The rumors follow a dramatic meeting with Karzai at which his intelligence chief and interior secretary resigned after the president shrugged off evidence that the Taliban was behind a rocket attack on a peace conference earlier this month. –JCL

The New York Times:

Two senior Afghan officials were showing President Hamid Karzai the evidence of the spectacular rocket attack on a nationwide peace conference earlier this month when Mr. Karzai told them that he believed the Taliban were not responsible.

“The president did not show any interest in the evidence — none — he treated it like a piece of dirt,” said Amrullah Saleh, then the director of the Afghan intelligence service.

Mr. Saleh declined to discuss Mr. Karzai’s reasoning in more detail. But a prominent Afghan with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Karzai suggested in the meeting that it might have been the Americans who carried it out.

Minutes after the exchange, Mr. Saleh and the interior minister, Hanif Atmar, resigned — the most dramatic defection from Mr. Karzai’s government since he came to power nine years ago. Mr. Saleh and Mr. Atmar said they quit because Mr. Karzai made clear that he no longer considered them loyal.

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