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News Link • Afghanistan

U.S. Rejects Karzai's Demand to End Raids

• by Gareth Porter and Shah Nouri
 Karzai has proposed the latter option, with Afghan forces carrying out most of the raids, but the U.S. military has rejected that possibility, according to sources at the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

Karzai's persistence in pressing that demand reflects the widespread popular anger at night raids, which means that Karzai cannot give in to the U.S. insistence on continuing them without handing the Taliban a big advantage in the political-military maneuvering that will continue during peace talks.

The dilemma for both the United States and Karzai is that the United States has been planning to leave SOF units and U.S. airpower – the two intensely unpopular elements of U.S.-NATO presence in the country – as the only combat forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Karzai gave no evidence of backing down on his demand regarding night raids and the closely related issue of U.S. troops taking and holding Afghan prisoners. Karzai identified the issues involving "Afghan sovereignty" as "civilian casualties, attacks on Afghan homes, raids on Afghan homes, taking prisoners and keeping prisoners".

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