News / USA

Petraeus-Karzai Dispute Reflects Varied Perspectives, Says Pentagon

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, talks alongside General David Petraeus, U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, at Kabul International Airport (FILE).
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, talks alongside General David Petraeus, U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, at Kabul International Airport (FILE).

The public differences between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, over the Afghan war strategy comes from their different roles and perspectives on the conflict, the Pentagon said Monday, adding that they will continued to work throught them.

Their disagreements have simmered for months.  

President Karzai wants private security companies to leave his country almost immediately.  But General Petraeus says they are necessary for some additional period.

President Karzai wants an end to military raids on the homes of suspected Afghan insurgents.  General Petraeus considers the raids an essential part of his counterterrorism effort.

President Karzai told The Washington Post newspaper, over the weekend that he wants a reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and that he wants the remaining troops to stay on their bases as much as possible.  General Petraeus says any drawdown will be based on security conditions and the capabilities of Afghan security forces, and that at the moment, they do not allow for a reduction.  On the pace of military operations, Petraeus frequently notes that it is only during the last few months that he has had enough forces to conduct the level of operations he believes is necessary to defeat the insurgency.

In a separate article published in The Post Monday, U.S. officials are quoting  as saying that General Petraeus expressed "astonishment and disappointment" at President Karzai's most recent remarks, and that the president's attitude could make the general's position "untenable."

But a Pentagon spokesman U.S. Marine Corps Colonel David Lapan indicated Monday that he sees the disagreements as understandable.  

"General Petraeus has a perspective based on his mission," he said. "And President Karzai has a perspective based on his role as the leader of Afghanistan."

Lapan said that senior Pentagon officials want the general and the Afghan president to work out their differences in Kabul.

"This is something that the leadership in Kabul, NATO, General Petraeus and the Karzai government will sort out.  Some of the concerns expressed by President Karzai are not unknown to us.  They are things that we have heard in the past.  So they continue to work through those," said Lapan.

President Karzai will have a chance to make his case directly to President Barack Obama and other coalition leaders at the NATO summit in Lisbon this week.  And although he might find sympathy for his goals, he may not find much support for his calls for major and immediate changes in allied operations.

For example, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that "intelligence-driven, precision-targeted operations against high-value insurgents and their networks is a key component" of allied military operations.

"We believe that these operations are in the best interest of the Afghan people, the Afghan government and the ISAF troops who are working with their Afghan counterparts to secure the country," she said.

Clinton also said Afghan forces participate in the operations and that "they are having a significant impact on the insurgent leadership and the networks that they operate."  She said U.S. leaders share many of President Karzai's concerns and goals, and that NATO has modified some of its tactics to ease Afghan concerns.  But she said that any major changes, like a troop reduction or decreased operations, will be based only on security conditions and the capabilities of the Afghan forces.  

Many of the leaders who will attend the NATO summit, including President Obama, would be only too happy to reduce their troop levels in Afghanistan, along with their operating tempo and casualties.  And Mr. Obama has said the process will begin next July.  But he and other leaders have expressed concern that moving too quickly would erase the gains that this year's troop increase has helped achieve.

It is a fine line for all of the leaders to walk, particularly with strong opposition to the war among many Europeans and President Karzai's statement that the Afghan people want the foreign troops out, too.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid