KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan president Wednesday called on his security forces to end incidents of torture and abuse of the Afghan people, a shift from past speeches that have solely blamed NATO troops for the violations in the country.
In an address to parliament, Hamid Karzai said Afghan forces are also violating their own people’s rights, making it harder for him to raise the issue when abuses are carried out by foreigners.
“It’s not forgivable ... Our Afghan people are not safe in their houses,” because of Afghan troops’ treatment, he said. “Why should I blame foreigners?”
The Afghan leader said he did not initially want to believe reports that his own security forces had tortured prisoners, for instance, but that now he was calling on Afghan forces to respect human rights.
An Afghan government investigation last month found widespread cases of abuse at government-run prisons, backing up the results of a U.N. investigation that Karzai had initially repudiated.
Karzai’s speech is likely to be welcomed by diplomats who have called on him to acknowledge his own troops’ responsibility for incidents of abuse.