US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta slammed Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai for being critical of the US troops fighting there, saying he should be thankful "every once in a while."
“We have made progress in Afghanistan because there are men and women in uniform who have been willing to fight and die for Afghanistan’s sovereignty,” Panetta told reporters Friday.
“Those lives were lost fighting the right enemy not the wrong enemy and I think it would be helpful if the president, every once in a while, expressed his thanks for the sacrifices that have been made by those who have fought and died for Afghanistan, rather than criticizing them," he said, according to the Associated Press.
Panetta's harsh reaction came a day after Karzai criticized the US and NATO of not targeting militants' supporters in Pakistan, and instead focusing their attacks on Afghans.
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"The US and NATO should go to the places where the roots of terrorism exist. They are saying one thing but acting contrary to that," Karzai said at a news conference in Kabul, CNN reported. "I asked the US. government to equip our air force with weapons, intelligence and transport planes -- we still haven't received a response from them."
The Afghan leader also threatened to ask Russia or China for aid if America could not deliver.
Tensions between the two nations have also been escalated due to a series of fatal attacks on US troops by their Afghan counterparts. Likewise, a US military base's burning of Korans, soldiers' abuse of corpses, and a rogue American soldier attacking civilians have all weighed heavily on Afghanistan's opinions of the American soldiers stationed there, Agence France Presse reported.
Afghan forces have killed 51 NATO troops so far this year, an uncharacteristically high number, Al Jazeera reported.
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