Clinton: Karzai backs US Afghan bid
Tue, 23 Nov 2010 06:07:43 GMT
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Afghan President Hamid Karzai fully supports America's strategy in Afghanistan and the progress of US-led forces in the war-torn country.
“He is fully in support of the US strategy; he is fully in support of the fact that it is making progress,” Clinton said in an exclusive interview with the US-based CBS News on Sunday.
Clinton's remarks seem to highlight a press statement by US President Barack Obama at the NATO summit in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon that “Afghans will not be standing alone” in the protracted “fight for peace” in the region.
President Karzai insisted in a recent interview with the Washington Post that the nine-year war in Afghanistan should come to an end.
Karzai called on the US-led forces to reduce the visibility and intensity of their military operations in war-ravaged Afghanistan and end their night raids.
“The time has come to reduce military operations,” the Afghan president said in his November 14 interview with the newspaper.
“The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan… to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life,” he added.
The Afghan president's comments drew fierce criticism from NATO and US military officials.
Allies at the NATO summit agreed to a plan that would turn over responsibility for Afghanistan's security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
Clinton also claimed that the Afghan president only wants foreign forces to avoid actions that result in civilian casualties.
The claim comes days after Karzai reportedly signed an agreement with the International Security Assistance Force during the Lisbon summit, ensuring presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
Afghan lawmakers have criticized Karzai for signing the agreement. They insist that the pact is illegal and unpopular.