OTTAWA: Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s speech to Parliament last year was written by the Canadian military as part of an “elaborately staged political stunt,” the New Democratic Party alleged. The claim, based on heavily censored access-to-information documents, ruffled diplomatic feathers yesterday and prompted a strong denial from the Afghan ambassador in Ottawa.
Dawn Black, the NDP defence critic, said the documents indicate military advisers were asked to prepare an initial draft of Karzai’s speech, delivered on Sept. 22, 2006. “What Canadians heard was not the voice of the Afghan people, but the talking points of the Department of National Defence,” Black said. “I find it incredible that any foreign head of state would be handed their remarks by the host country’s military. It’s totally incredible to me. When our prime minister visited the Parliament in Australia, I can’t imagine the remarks were prepared by the Australian government.” Black quoted a situation report from Task Force Afghanistan as saying: “Team prepared initial draft of President (Karzai’s) address to Parliament 22 Sep.”-SANA