Karzai Admits Rift With US, NATO Over Civilian Killings

Afghan President Says NATO Trying to Silence Him With Criticism

by Jason Ditz, February 04, 2009

It’s no secret that the Afghan government and the international forces have not seen eye to eye on the large civilian death toll in the ongoing war: President Hamid Karzai regularly complains about such killings, while NATO tries to minimize them (to the point of dramatically underreporting their numbers). For the first time however, President Karzai has conceded that the dispute is causing a growing rift between the two sides.

For a long time now we and the Americans have discord in our opinions regarding the civilian casualties… and therefore there are tensions in our relations,” Karzai insists, adding that “it is natural that they in return put pressure on us so that we keep quiet.”

As the soaring violence has led to a soaring civilian toll, Karzai’s complaints have become louder and more frequent. The result has been increasingly public expressions of discontent with the Karzai government and reports that the Obama Administration is eager to see him go.

But even if Karzai is replaced, the killings seem bound to continue, and escalate as the fighting does. With the desire not to be killed by international forces at the forefront of the Afghan populace’s mind, will a replacement administration be any more capable of staying silent as villages are bombed and homes are raided?

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