The American commander in Afghanistan quietly told his forces to intensify security measures on Wednesday, issuing a strongly worded warning that a string of anti-American statements by President Hamid Karzai had put Western troops at greater risk of attack both from rogue Afghan security forces and from militants.
The order came amid a growing backlash against Mr. Karzai’s public excoriation of the United States, including a speech on Tuesday in which he suggested that the government might unilaterally act to ensure control of the Bagram Prison if the United States delayed its handover.
An array of Afghan political leaders issued a joint statement criticizing Mr. Karzai and saying his comments did not reflect their views. And though American military and diplomatic officials have mostly refrained from replying publicly to Mr. Karzai’s criticism, in private they have expressed concerns that relations between the allies had reached a worrisome low point right at a critical point in the war against the Taliban.
Frustration with Mr. Karzai was clear in the alert, known as a command threat advisory, sent on Wednesday by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. to his top commanders. “His remarks could be a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces — he may also issue orders that put our forces at risk,” the advisory read. . .