Karzai presses US military for answers

Kabul, December 22:

President Hamid Karzai pressed America’s top military leader today on the US strategy in Afghanistan as it prepares to pour up to 30,000 more forces into the country.

Karzai asked Adm Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, what kinds of operations the newly deployed troops would carry out and said the Afghan government should be consulted about those operations.

Mullen over the weekend announced that the US would send an additional 20,000 to 30,000 troops to Afghanistan by summer, reflecting the deteriorating security situation around the country more than seven years after the US invasion.

Karzai’s office said in a statement that Mullen told the president the new troops would be sent to dangerous regions with little security, particularly along the Pakistan border. Mullen on Saturday told reporters that NATO and the US have “enough forces to be successful in combat, but we haven’t had enough forces to hold the territory that we clear.” The Afghan president also told Mullen that the troops need to be careful in Afghan villages. Karzai has long decried the civilian casualties caused by military operations.