Karzai to US: Cut Troop Presence

Afghan prez says war has taken vast toll on people, need to get back to normal
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2010 10:03 AM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai listens during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Oct. 25, 2010.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)
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(Newser) – Nine years into the war in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai sees the toll it's taken on his people and says it's time for the US military to dial down its war effort. "The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan," he tells the Washington Post in an hourlong interview, "to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life." Specifically, Karzai wants the US to limit its visibility and stop Special Ops night raids he says risk Taliban retaliation.

"The raids are a problem always. They have to go away," he says. Karzai's comments place him directly at odds with David Petraeus and Co, who claim no viable alternative to night raids: "We would not be as far along as we are had it not been for these very precision operations," says a NATO military official. Karzai, further tweaking Washington in thanking it for the flood of aid, adds: "If a partner means a silent spectator of events conducted by Washington, if that kind of partner you seek, well, I'm not that partner. Nor will be the Afghan people."

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