Karzai, Petraeus ‘agree’ on Special Forces raids in Afghanistan

November 19th, 2010 - 1:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Taliban Kabul, Nov 19 (ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai and US commander General David Petraeus had a one-hour long meeting to discuss the former’s call for US forces to leave the country by 2011.

The two reached an agreement that Special Forces raids, which the president had earlier said should end, can continue in Afghanistan, the BBC reported.

Throughout their meeting, the president expressed his broad support for the NATO-led military strategy, it added.

His earlier criticism was a reflection of a “mature partnership,” his spokesman said, adding that Karzai and Petraeus were still on “good terms.”

But a particular sore point between the two has been the night raids carried out by Special Forces in the hunt for Taliban commanders, as Karzai previously said that the raids should end because they were unpopular with Afghans generally, the paper said.

But the US views them as a vital component in efforts to combat the insurgency, which is why they have tripled in number over the past year, it added.

Petraeus sought to reassure the President by explaining that Afghan forces take the lead in such raids, and that senior officials in the ministries of Interior and Defence take part in the planning stages.

He also said that civilian casualties as a result of the operations are small in number and have been falling. Karzai agreed - reluctantly - that the raids should continue, according to one observer.

Both Petraeus and Karzai have left Kabul to attend the NATO summit in Lisbon, where the two-day meeting will discuss plans for the handover of security in Afghanistan from the international to Afghan forces. (ANI)

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