Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai speaks during press conference with Belgium's Prime Minister Yves Leterme (not shown) in Kabul on December 20, 2009. UPI/Hossein Fatemi | License Photo
KABUL, Afghanistan, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The government of Afghanistan does not need the favor of the international community or their ridicule, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a damning report to the U.N. Security Council on Afghanistan said a "change of mindset" was needed in the Afghan government and in the international community in order to ensure the situation will not "diminish further."
Karzai, who is facing international scrutiny for allegations of corruption in his administration, deflected Ban's comments, saying the situation was not as severe as presented by Western leaders.
In an interview with the Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera, Karzai went a step further, suggesting Western and Afghan objectives were varied.
"They are here for a purpose -- the fight on terror," he said. "And we are working with our purpose, which is the stability and safety of Afghanistan."
He went on to dismiss suggestions that his country was not viewed as a legitimate partner in the international community with its own sovereign objectives.
"The international community, especially the West, they must respect Afghanistan and its government, and understand that we are a people, we are a country, we have a history, we have interests, we have pride, we have dignity," he said.