South Asia News
Karzai asks US to scale down Afghan military operations
Nov 14, 2010, 13:44 GMT
Washington - Afghan President Hamid Karzai, in an interview published Sunday, called on the United States to scale down its military activity in his country.
'The time has come to reduce military operations,' Karzai said in an interview with the Washington Post newspaper.
The president said the Afghan population was unable to cope with the massive international military presence and wanted to see an end to the 'intrusiveness' of the soldiers in daily life.
Karzai said he was speaking out not to criticize the United States but in the belief that candour could improve what he called a 'grudging' relationship between the countries.
The president said his people were getting impatient with a war that had been going on for nearly a decade.
In particular, he wanted to see an end to nighttime raids by foreign troops on Afghan homes.
'The Afghan people don't like these raids, if there is any raid it has to be done by the Afghan government within the Afghan laws,' he said.
The night raids are a key element of the strategy adopted by US and NATO troops in their counterinsurgency tactics.
Karzai has long been publicly critical of civilian casualties at the hands of US and NATO troops and has repeatedly called for curtailing night raids into Afghan homes.
Such raids by US Special Operations troops have increased sharply, to about 200 a month, the newspaper said. In the past three months, the troops have killed or captured 368 insurgent leaders.
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