KABUL (Reuters) - The United States needs to work hard to re-establish confidence with the international community after hundreds of thousands of secret cables were obtained by the WikiLeaks website, Afghanistan’s foreign minister said on Monday.
Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told a news conference the United States needed to put in “a lot of hard work to re-establish the kind of confidence which is needed between the international community generally, but also between allies in the world.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai brushed off the leaked cables detailing widespread corruption in Afghanistan and harsh personal criticism from within his own cabinet and the United States. His spokesman has said ties with Washington would not be strained.
Rassoul also said he did not believe “the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States will be affected directly by WikiLeaks.”
WikiLeaks obtained more than 250,000 leaked U.S. cables and there has been a steady flow of embarrassing disclosures reported, exposing not only U.S. views, but also confidential discussions with foreign governments.
Rassoul said confidence between the United States and its allies would be much more difficult when diplomats were not able to trust that their conversations would remain private.
“Confidence should come back at all levels, it’s going to be a difficult job, but it’s necessary,” Rassoul said.
Finance Minister Omar Zakhilwal said on Saturday that the release of the leaked U.S. cables had hurt the relationship between key Afghan ministers and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, saying it “certainly will not be business as usual between us.”
One leaked cable reported that Zakhilwal told Ambassador Karl Eikenberry that Karzai was an “extremely weak man” who did not listen to facts. Zakhilwal said he had never used the word “weak” to describe Karzai.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Tait and Alex Richardson
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.