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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Karzai claims civilian deaths in NATO air strikes could undermine Strategic Partnership agreement



Just recently Obama paid a secret visit to Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Deal governing the U.S. continuing presence and support for Afghanistan from 2014 to 2024. Now Karzai claims that the deal is being undermined by recent NATO air strikes that have killed civilians.

This is probably simply political rhetoric that Karzai finds necessary in order to keep some semblance of legitimacy in the eyes of the public. There is an analogous situation in Pakistan where the parliament passes motions demanding drone strikes stop but they continue. However, Karzai is unpredictable and it is possible if pushed far enough he may feel forced to act.

Karzai said:“If the lives of Afghan people are not safe, the signing of the strategic partnership has no meaning,” Karzai again demanded that NATO stop air strikes in populated areas and bombing homes that might have civilians inside. NATO has refused to change course.

Afghanistan is an occupied country and the government and military are dependent upon foreign payments to function. Even after 2014 the Afghan government will require much over a billion a year to finance the military.

The Strategic Partnership deal does on paper give some control over night raids but only certain types of raids. This is no doubt meant to make it look as if Karzai has won concessions whereas in reality independent raids by the U.S. will continue as before the agreement . The NATO policy at present is unchanged with the inevitable collateral damage that follows. No doubt these raids help the Taliban recruit fighters. For more see this article.

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