Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai Denies He’s Manic Depressive

In an interview with Larry King set to air Monday, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai laughs at the idea that he’s manic depressive. The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, is quoted in Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars as saying that Karzai has received treatment for depression, and the assertion seemed to get further support when Karzai broke down in tears during a nationally televised talk about the security situation in Afghanistan. Karzai also acknowledged discussions  with the Taliban saying, “unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time.”

Mr. Karzai denied claims he has been taking medication to deal with the alleged problem. “Oh definitely not. Rather funny,” Mr Karzai said in response to King’s question about the allegations. “The only medication that I have taken, is an antibiotic called Augmentin – the strongest ones I have taken when I had a bad cold two years ago. And I from time to time take multivitamins and vitamin C and of course a popular medicine in the US, Tylenol is something I use from time to time when I have a headache or when I’m tired.”

Relations between Mr Karzai and the White House continue to be strained following the allegations of corruption in last year’s Afghan elections. Mr Karzai said he feared his only son would be forced to flee the country as a result of the continuing violence. However he also now revealed that his government has been holding informal talks with the Taliban about ending the war in Afghanistan. “We have been talking to the Taliban as countryman to countryman,” Mr Karzai told King. “Not as a regular official contact with the Taliban with a fixed address, but rather unofficial personal contacts have been going on for quite some time.”

Afghan presidential spokesman Waheed Omar said it wasn’t the first time Mr Karzai had acknowledged the talks. “He has talked about it in the past as well. It’s not hidden from anyone,’ Mr Omar is quoted by the AP news agency as saying. “We have said that there have been contacts in the past, initiated sometimes by the government, sometimes by the armed opposition.”