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

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora