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Karzai wants US to cut military ops

world Updated: Nov 15, 2010 07:26 IST
Joshua Partlow

President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that the United States must reduce visibility and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan and end the increased US Special Operations forces night raids that aggravate Afghans and could exacerbate the Taliban insurgency.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Karzai said that he wanted American troops off the roads and out of Afghan homes and that the long-term presence of so many foreign soldiers would only worsen the war.

His comments placed him at odds with US commander Gen. David H. Petraeus, who has made capture-and-kill missions a key component of his counterinsurgency plan.

“The time has come to reduce military operations,” Karzai said. “The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan ... to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life.”

The comments come as American officials are playing down the importance of July 2011 — the date President Obama set to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan — in favour of a combat mission ending in 2014. Karzai was in favour of a lighter military footprint as the administration reviews progress of the Afghan war.

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