Yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai told lawmakers that his government had sent a draft agreement to NATO headquarters, designed to give him more control over future NATO deployments. Among other things, the agreement would bar NATO forces from searching Afghan homes.
Karzai has been pressuring the NATO-led international forces for more control over their operations amid public outcry over the rising civilian death toll. The Kabul-based Afghanistan Rights Monitor issued a report showing that nearly 4,000 Afghan civilians were killed in 2008, with around 1,100 of them killed by foreign forces.
Yet as Karzai hopes to assert more control over NATO forces in Afghanistan, NATO may be hoping to assert more control over him. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxine Verhagen suggested in particular that the Karzai should be pressured to worker harder in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban forces have increasing influence and where, “too many Afghans had seen only limitied benefit” from the government.