Karzai asks Nato to quit Afghan villages

2012-03-16 10:42
Kabul - President Hamid Karzai called on Thursday for Nato troops to leave Afghan villages and confine themselves to major bases after the slaughter of 16 villagers by a US soldier, underscoring fury over the massacre and clouding US exit plans.

In a near-simultaneous announcement, the Afghan Taliban said it was suspending nascent peace talks with the United States seen as a way to end the country's decade-long conflict, blaming "shaky, erratic and vague" US statements.

The US government said it remained committed to political reconciliation involving talks with the Taliban but progress would require agreement between the Afghan government and the insurgents.

Karzai, in a statement after meeting US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Kabul on Thursday, said, "international security forces have to be taken out of Afghan village outposts and return to [larger] bases".

Such a move could undercut President Barack Obama's strategy for Afghanistan, hampering efforts to mentor Afghan police and help with local governance.

The soldier accused of carrying out the shooting was attached to a small special forces compound similar to others around the country which underpin Nato's anti-insurgent strategy ahead of a 2014 deadline for Western combat forces to pull out.

The incident has harmed relations between Afghanistan and the United States and Karzai called for "all efforts ... to avoid such incidents in the future."

The nighttime killings in Kandahar province on Sunday have raised questions about Western strategy in Afghanistan and intensified calls for the withdrawal of foreign combat troops.

Gradual transition


The United States played down Karzai's call for Nato to pull out from Afghan villages. Pentagon officials said they did not believe he was calling for an immediate withdrawal to bases and said there was no change in US plans for a gradual transition to Afghan security leadership.

"We believe that this statement reflects president Karzai's strong interest in moving as quickly as possible to a fully independent and sovereign Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesperson George Little told reporters with Panetta in Abu Dhabi, where he flew after leaving Kabul earlier on Thursday.

Germany - which has the third largest contingent of Nato troops in Afghanistan - also played down the likely impact.

But in Washington, Republican senators opposed to an early withdrawal from Afghanistan said Karzai's demands would doom to failure the plan for a transition to Afghan control over the next two years.

Senator John McCain, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said it was a losing strategy he could not agree to, a view echoed by Senator Lindsey Graham.

"We tried that in Iraq, where we stayed on bases, and Iraq devolved into chaos," Graham told reporters. "Fighting ... behind a wire, you can't fight effectively."

He said the US forces were out in the villages to mentor Afghan police, train the army and help with governance.

Read more on:    nato  |  barack obama  |  hamid karzai  |  iran  |  germany  |  us  |  afghanistan  |  uk
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/World
 

New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!

Soon sending an LOL! or facepalm will be so much more fun!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
Printable solar panels will bring exciting new opportunities!
Now there’s a special lane for texting while walking
LOL! 7 brutally honest texts from parents

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a tendency to fight against the current today but this will just use up a lot of energy and not get you very far. You...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.