News / Asia

Karzai: US Should Cut Back Afghan Military Operations

Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan (File Photo)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan (File Photo)
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Afghanistan's president says he wants the United States to reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in his country.

In an interview Sunday in The Washington Post, Hamid Karzai said he wants the U.S. to stop night raids, which he says aggravate Afghans and could incite people to join the Taliban insurgency.  The newspaper reports that the Afghan president is seeking veto power over those nighttime operations.

Mr. Karzai said the time has come to "reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life."  He said Afghans have become impatient with the presence of U.S. soldiers in their homes and armored vehicles on their roads.  He added that Afghan troops are ready to take more responsibility for their country's security.

Mr. Karzai told the Post he hopes his candid remarks will help improve what he called a "grudging" relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

In violence Sunday, a series of bomb blasts and insurgent attacks in Afghanistan killed 11 people, including five NATO service members and three Afghan police officers.

Denmark's military said a roadside bomb killed a Danish soldier during a joint operation with Afghan security forces in southern Afghanistan. Three more coalition service members were killed during an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan and another in a separate incident in the south.

Afghan officials say a motorcycle bomb killed two civilians and wounded 11 at a market in Spin Boldak, in southern Kandahar province.  Another blast in the eastern city of Jalalabad killed one person and wounded nine others.

Also Sunday, suspected militants torched a convoy of 12 fuel tankers destined for NATO forces in Nangarhar province.  A provincial government spokesman (Ahmad Zia Abdulzai) said no one was killed in the attack.

The Washington Post story says Mr. Karzai's comments come as U.S. officials are stressing the combat mission in Afghanistan will not end until 2014.  The newspaper says U.S. officials are  "playing down" the importance of July 2011, the date U.S. President Barack Obama has set to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Comments Sunday by the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan seemed to support that strategy.  Richard Holbrooke said "substantial combat forces" will not be phased out in Afghanistan until 2014.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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