Karzai Demands NATO Pullback After Murders (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gavriel Queenann 03/15/12)
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Afghan president Hamid Karzai demanded Thursday that NATO troops
immediately pull out of rural areas in the wake of the murder of 16
civilians by a US soldier.
Karzai issued his demand as Afghan lawmakers furiously decried the US
decision to fly the soldier suspected killings to Kuwait on Wednesday
night instead of allowing him to be tried in the country.
"Afghan security forces have the ability to keep the security in
rural areas and in villages on their own," Karzai said after meeting
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. He said he had conveyed his demand
The Afghan president also reportedly wants Afghan forces to take the
lead for countrywide security at the beginning of 2013 in a bid to
accelerate the US troop drawdown by a full year.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai confirmed that Karzai had
asked for an immediate NATO pull back from villages and rural areas
to main bases.
"Karzai is confident that Afghan security forces are ready to take
over and know a thousand times better than any foreign troops the
culturally sensitive ways of dealing with their own people," Mosazai
However, military analysts say a NATO pullback would leave vast areas
of the country unprotected and end the campaign to "win the hearts
and minds" of the people.
It would also mean pulling US forces back from the Afghan-Pakistan
border where fighting has been its most intense, and where Taliban
forces launch most of their attacks from.
Also Thursday, the Taliban said it was suspending talks with the US
because the Americans failed to follow through on its promises, made
new demands and falsely claimed the terror group had entered into
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said they had agreed to discuss
the establishment of the group´s political office in Qatar and a
prisoner exchange, but charged the Americans "turned their backs on
their promises" and presented new conditions for the talks.
"So the Islamic Emirate [Taliban] has decided to suspend all talks
with Americans taking place in Qatar from today onwards until the
Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they
show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting
time," Mujahid said.
"We must categorically state that the real source of obstacle in
talks was the shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans,
therefore all the responsibility for the halt also falls on their
shoulders," he said.
Mujahid also said Karzai falsely claimed the Afghan government was
involved in three-way peace talks with the Taliban and US, but that
talking with the Afghan government was "pointless."
Karzai´s demand coupled with the Taliban´s decision to call off
rapprochement with Washington is a blow to both US tracks aimed at
ending the 10-year war in the country.
Obama´s exit strategy, to transfer authority gradually to Afghan
forces while pulling the Taliban into political discussion with
Kabul, appears to be stalled. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/15/12)
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