Karzai says time for U.S. to scale back in Afghanistan

08:42, November 15, 2010      

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Afghan President Hamid Karzai adjusts his coat during a news conference in Kabul October 25, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview published on Sunday that the United States must reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan, otherwise the Taliban insurgency could be exacerbated.

In an interview published by the Washington Post, the Afghan president said long-term presence of so many foreign soldiers would only worsen the war, placing him at odds with U.S. commander David Petraeus, who claims the 30,000 new troops have made substantial progress in beating back Taliban.

"The time has come to reduce military operations," Karzai said. "to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life."

Although he did not say how many U.S. troops he would prefer in Afghanistan, Karzai indicated the current level of 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan is unsustainable.

"It's not desirable for the Afghan people either to have 100, 000 or more foreign troops going around the country endlessly," he was quoted by the paper as saying.

He said Afghanistan would like to have "a long-term", " substantial relationship" with the United States, with "Afghan countryside - villages, homes, towns - not to be so overwhelmed with the military presence."

Obama ordered the deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan late last year, but the troops made few progress in changing the outlook of the war. The administration has begun its internal review of whether the strategy is working.

Source: Xinhua


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