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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora