Afghan president still against NATO night raids

KABUL, Afghanistan—The responsibility for finding peace after more than nine years of war rests with the Afghan people and not with the foreigners, the Afghan president said Tuesday.

Hamid Karzai maintained his opposition to night raids targeting insurgent leaders, a stance that has caused friction between the Afghan leader and NATO.

Karzai spoke at a news conference in Kabul after returning from a weekend summit with NATO leaders in Lisbon, Portugal, where the alliance embraced the president’s goal to have Afghan security forces be in the lead by 2014.

“This is our time to prove ourselves,” Karzai said, expressing confidence that Afghan soldiers and policemen would be able to protect and defend the nation within four years.

“The responsibility for bringing peace is the responsibility of the political leaders and elders of Afghanistan,” he said.

Karzai said he told leaders at the summit that he continues to be opposed to night raids, which coalition forces and their Afghan partners conduct to capture and kill midlevel Taliban insurgents. Karzai said the operations are intrusive, disrupt the daily lives of the Afghan people and lead to the death of innocents.

“For a long time I and the Afghan people have protested, saying that they should stop the night raids and the civilian killings,” Karzai said.

NATO says the raids are a key part of its counterinsurgency strategy to rout insurgents from their strongholds, improve security and provide an opportunity for the Afghan government to bolster governance and services to the people.

Karzai also acknowledged that Iran and Pakistan have interfered in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, but said the Afghans have allowed this to happen. Both countries back the Afghan government yet support insurgent networks.

“We should not let them,” Karzai said.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply