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After Karzai slams U.S., Hagel cancels conference

Newly appointed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has canceled his first scheduled press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Officials have cited "security concerns" for the cancellation, but the decision came just hours after Karzai contentiously accused the U.S. of colluding with the Taliban to justify a military presence in Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the Afghan president charged that the U.S. was in daily talks with the Taliban and that insurgent suicide attacks enabled the U.S.-led international military force to justify its presence in Afghanistan.

The Guardian notedthat Afghan officials have called foul on the U.S. "security concerns" excuse for cancelling the news conference:

Afghan officials said the presidential palace, where the men planned to meet the press, was totally safe.

"It doesn't make any sense," said one Afghan official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to discuss the sensitive issue. "It was supposed to take place at the palace, we don't see any security problems there."

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