Karzai wins; Dunford claims Wardak pullout shows “success”

The U.S. has settled another public spat with President Hamid Karzai over the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan, this time coming to an agreement that speeds additional Afghan security forces into Wardak province to take the place of NATO special operations forces troops.   Karzai last month had said he would expel all special ...

Rahmatullah Alizad/AFP/Getty Images
Rahmatullah Alizad/AFP/Getty Images
Rahmatullah Alizad/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. has settled another public spat with President Hamid Karzai over the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan, this time coming to an agreement that speeds additional Afghan security forces into Wardak province to take the place of NATO special operations forces troops.
 
Karzai last month had said he would expel all special operations forces from Wardak province, which is near the capital city of Kabul, following local accusations that the foreign troops and Afghan local police working with them were harassing, targeting and killing civilians. The U.S. denied the allegations.

It’s the first taste for new Afghanistan war commander Gen. Joseph Dunford of a now familiar Karzai ploy: publicly threatening to block international military activity inside Afghanistan and then relenting.
 
“I want to thank President Karzai for his leadership,” said Dunford, in a statement.  “This plan meets the president's intent and leverages the growing capacity and capability of the Afghan security forces to meet the security needs of this country.  This solution is what success looks like as we continue the transition to overall Afghan security lead.”
 
According to reports from Kabul, an Afghan spokesman said special forces would leave the province within days. The U.S., meanwhile, will pull a team out, along with an Afghan local police unit. But it was unclear if the U.S. would remove all special operations forces, as Karzai originally demanded.
 
“The timeline for moving the ANSF into Nerkh District will be determined by the Afghan Government,” according to an ISAF statement released Tuesday.
 
 

The U.S. has settled another public spat with President Hamid Karzai over the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan, this time coming to an agreement that speeds additional Afghan security forces into Wardak province to take the place of NATO special operations forces troops.
 
Karzai last month had said he would expel all special operations forces from Wardak province, which is near the capital city of Kabul, following local accusations that the foreign troops and Afghan local police working with them were harassing, targeting and killing civilians. The U.S. denied the allegations.

It’s the first taste for new Afghanistan war commander Gen. Joseph Dunford of a now familiar Karzai ploy: publicly threatening to block international military activity inside Afghanistan and then relenting.
 
“I want to thank President Karzai for his leadership,” said Dunford, in a statement.  “This plan meets the president’s intent and leverages the growing capacity and capability of the Afghan security forces to meet the security needs of this country.  This solution is what success looks like as we continue the transition to overall Afghan security lead.”
 
According to reports from Kabul, an Afghan spokesman said special forces would leave the province within days. The U.S., meanwhile, will pull a team out, along with an Afghan local police unit. But it was unclear if the U.S. would remove all special operations forces, as Karzai originally demanded.
 
“The timeline for moving the ANSF into Nerkh District will be determined by the Afghan Government,” according to an ISAF statement released Tuesday.
 
 

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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