In Cutting Airstrikes, Karzai Could 'Hamstring' Troops
Pakistan office bombing kills 5
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 18, 2013 9:54 AM CST
Afghan President Hamid Karzai adjusts his hat as he speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid)

(Newser) – Afghanistan's president wants his country's security forces to stop asking foreign troops to launch airstrikes in residential areas—and that could leave Hamid Karzai's forces floundering, the Los Angeles Times reports. The commander of US-led forces there maintains that "there are other ways we can support the Afghan forces besides aviation," perhaps via ground artillery systems. But the Times notes that the Afghan security units have no air power of their own with which to fight the Taliban; further, it asserts that the majority of those units are not "capable of operating without coalition support."

And some analysts are concerned that agreeing to the plan could be dangerous, particularly with the warmer months coming. "It could provide ground for the insurgency to increase their areas of operations," says a Kabul-based military analyst. Meanwhile, NATO forces today announced that they last week killed a former Afghan soldier who'd turned insurgent and killed an American soldier during a May 11 insider attack, the AP reports. A raid in Kunar province killed the man, known as Mahmood, and an accomplice.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Feb 18, 2013 5:33 PM CST
It would seem this could be a plot to stall US troop withdrawl depending on the timing. if the stop of air strikes is befor troop withdrawl and the afgan security position deteriorates then media and those in favor of maintaining more troops in country will point to this and use it.
Feb 18, 2013 2:47 PM CST
Pakistan will not endure without any foreign country's forces to help out. The country has no strong political backbone to support any one faction. Just another third world country with a bunch of crazies in it. The U.S.'s fight has been over for a long time. Let's get the heck out of there and protect our own borders.
Feb 18, 2013 1:02 PM CST
It makes sense for Karzai to take the Afghan Army for a test drive before our troops start leaving. When they fail to maintain security, he (and the US) will have the excuse they need to keep a substantial contingent of troops there indefinitely -- and to retain the air strike capability that Obama's advisers so desperately want (for Pakistan and Iran). Karzai plays a deeper game than he is given credit for. He is corrupt, stubborn, and an unrepentant tribalist, but he is not dumb.