Tags: Karzai | military | ties | US

Karzai Wants Better US Military Ties

Thursday, 06 May 2010 10:07 AM

KABUL – Afghan President Hamid Karzai called Thursday for US-led foreign troops to coordinate more closely with the Afghan military on operations, just days ahead of a key trip to Washington.

Karzai, who will next week hold talks with US President Barack Obama in the wake of a damaging row between the two leaders, told his security chiefs closer coordination was vital in the struggle against a worsening Taliban insurgency.

"The president emphasised the importance of coordination between Afghan and international forces," Karzai's office said in a statement.

"The president said the proposals already presented to the international community by the Afghan government on reform of security and operational strategies... would make the struggle against terrorism more effective."

The Western-backed leader has repeatedly called for the 130,000 US-led international forces fighting in Afghanistan to coordinate their military activities with Afghan soldiers to avoid civilian casualties.

Civilians are often caught up in the conflict, and Karzai argues that the focus of military operations against the Taliban should switch from villages in Afghanistan to militant hubs in neighbouring Pakistan.

The timing of his latest statement will be seen as significant, coming three days before he is due to fly to Washington for crucial talks with US leaders.

Karzai's spokesman said this week he hoped the trip would "lead to changes in the strategy of the war against terrorism," an apparent reference to domestic concerns about civilian deaths at the hands of foreign forces.

The Afghan leader will also seek reassurances of US support during his talks with Obama -- the first since his claim that the election returning him to power was manipulated by foreign governments raised consternation in the West.

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KABUL – Afghan President Hamid Karzai called Thursday for US-led foreign troops to coordinate more closely with the Afghan military on operations, just days ahead of a key trip to Washington.
Karzai,military,ties,US
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2010-07-06
Thursday, 06 May 2010 10:07 AM
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