Afghan President Hamid Karzai says American troops should hand over more security duties to local forces, arguing that having so many foreign soldiers around fuels the Taliban insurgency. His views, expressed in an interview with The Washington Post, signal a possible rift with General David Petraeus, who is responsible for the counter-insurgency strategy being used, and the Obama administration, which is suggesting that Americans will be needed to fight in Afghanistan for several more years. Should the U.S. be listening to Karzai? (Watch a Fox News discussion about Karzai's request)
Karzai is nuts — his soldiers are not ready: The night raids that Karzai wants the U.S. to suspend are "destroying the Taliban leadership," says Merv Benson at Prairie Pundit. No doubt the Taliban would be happy if they ended, but the Afghan government should be begging for them to continue. Some day Afghan troops should take over security, but not until "three or four years after the enemy has been eliminated."
Karzai is not asking the U.S. to leave, only to be smart: The Afghan president is merely making an "understandable hedge," says Spencer Ackerman at Wired. He's not saying he wants the U.S. and NATO to leave. He just doesn't want such an overwhelming military presence in countryside villages. Karzai can't "hug the U.S. too tightly," because then he would alienate those Afghans who want an end to the war.
"U.S. to leave Afghanistan in 2011 2014 never"
Whatever Karzai says, U.S. troops won't be leaving for a while: The Obama administration is playing down the July 2011 date the president had set for initiating troop withdrawals, says Fred Hiatt in The Washington Post, and targeting 2014 instead. The important thing for the American public to understand is that, whatever Karzai and Obama want, the war and America's involvement in it "won't be ending next summer."
"On Afghanistan, Obama shifts away from July 2011"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 8 of our favorite ridiculously long German words
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
Subscribe to the Week