You never expect the leader of a country to publicly sanction a terrorist organization but that's exactly what Afghan President Karzai did on Saturday when he called on the Taliban to fight "Afghanistan's enemies." This is strongly believed to be incitement to an attack against Pakistan following the clash between both countries' forces at their shared border.
The Afghan border guards are funded by the U.S. and Karzai's comments promoting the Taliban over the Afghan forces are a clear diplomatic insult to U.S. presence, and recent withdrawal, in Afghanistan. Karzai is using this political opportunity to his advantage to escalate tensions further diplomatically.
Reuters reports Karzai framed his comments as "a reminder for the Taliban": "Instead of destroying their own country, they should turn their weapons against places where plots are made against Afghan prosperity." Karzai further issued a clearer directive: "They should stand with this young man who was martyred and defend their soil."
The 'young man' referred to is a border policeman killed on Wednesday night in a clash on eastern Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. Two Pakistani soldiers were among the six people wounded in the six-hour skirmish that erupted when Pakistani forces fired artillery rounds at border guards, but this is being disputed by a Pakistani military official who says the fire started from the Afghan side.
Many Afghans resent Pakistan's intelligence support of the Taliban, which also makes Karzai's comments a political ploy focused on diplomatic disruption. Afghan citizens took to the streets in Kabul on Friday to protest the clash, and were chanting "Death to Pakistan" to protest what they perceive was an attempt by Pakistan to invade Afghanistan.
"We are protesting against Pakistan, against its interference in Afghanistan, militarily, politically, its support for the Taliban, and 30 years of proxy war in Afghanistan by Pakistan," said Zaland Faiz, head of a youth movement in Kabul. The Pakistani intelligence community supported the Taliban in the 1990s as it gained power in Afghanistan, and many believe that Pakistani leaders are still helping militants as a counter to India's growing political and economic influence in Afghanistan.
U.S. military officials are mediating to maintain calm in the area, especially since any disruption on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border could further complicate U.S. withdrawal ... something Karzai has vocally demanded to be sped up.
Given that, Karzai is still soliciting the CIA for "ghost money," money specifically designated for bribing officials, businesses, Afghan tribal leaders, and as many suspect, Taliban militants.