By CNN Staff
There's a new one-week deadline for handing over control of a U.S.-run detention center near Bagram Air Base to Afghan authorities, Afghanistan's president said Sunday.
On Sunday, Hamid Karzai's office said in a statement that he had agreed to a request from U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for one week "to carry out the full handover the prison."
"President Karzai agreed with the new time request and reminded Secretary Hagel that the transfer has been delayed several times in the past and that this time, the handover should take place," the statement said.
By Barbara Starr
The commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is warning his top commanders of new risks of attacks due to rising tensions between NATO forces and the Afghan president, an ISAF official told CNN Thursday.
The personal e-mail Gen. Joseph Dunford sent Wednesday is not a formal threat advisory, said the official, who did not want to be identified.
The tensions between the NATO-led coalition forces - especially those from the United States - and President Hamid Karzai escalated after a bomb blast in Kabul last weekend that killed nine people.
Karzai said afterward that there are "ongoing daily talks between Taliban, American and foreigners in Europe and in the Gulf states."
Dunford quickly denounced Karzai's remark.
"We have fought too hard over the past 12 years. We have shed too much blood over the past 12 years. We have done too much to help the Afghan Security Forces grow over the last 12 years to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage," he said.
In the e-mail sent Wednesday, Dunford told commanders that Karzai's recent statements "could be a catalyst for some to lash out against our forces - he may also issue orders that put our forces at risk."
ISAF is currently in discussions with the Afghan government about the terms for the turnover of the detention facility at Bagram to the Afghans, as well as the withdrawal of U.S. special forces from Wardak Province following still unsubstantiated complaints about U.S. troop misconduct there.
Dunford met with Karzai Wednesday to discuss the transfer of the detention center. The general said it "must be done in a way that meets the needs of Afghan sovereignty while mitigating the real threats that some of these detainees pose to Afghan and coalition forces.
"We will complete the transfer when the remaining issues have been resolved," Dunford said in a statement on ISAF's website.
Several media reported Karzai gave a speech Tuesday in which he suggested the government would take unilateral actions to assume control of the detention center if the transfer was delayed much longer.
In his e-mail, Dunford calls Karzai's remarks about Bagram "inflammatory speech."
ISAF called the general's warning "prudent given increased coalition casualties in recent days."
"ISAF routinely conducts assessments and adapts its protection posture to ensure our forces are prepared to meet potential threats and that they have a common understanding of the situation here in Afghanistan," the ISAF statement said. "General Dunford's e-mail is simply an example of this vigilance."
By Mike Mount
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is not in an enviable position.
The man who has led the country for nearly 10 years is a difficult politician to deal with for the most part.
Beyond his seemingly outrageous comments toward the United States, he has also been called corrupt and often impossible to predict.
In his latest eyebrow-raiser following a bomb blast in Kabul that killed at least nine people, Karzai said on Sunday there are "ongoing daily talks between Taliban, American and foreigners in Europe and in the Gulf states."
The comment effectively claimed the United States was trying to foment continued violence inside Afghanistan.
The top commander of U.S. and allied forces, Gen. Joseph Dunford, quickly denounced the remark.
EDITOR'S NOTE: From 2009-2011, Mark R. Jacobson (Twitter: @markondefense) served as the Deputy NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan. He is now a Senior Advisor to the Truman National Security Project and a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund.
From Mark Jacobson, Special to CNN
Some senior diplomats have called Afghan President Hamid Karzai the most difficult leader the United States has dealt with in modern times. In fairness, Afghanistan itself may be one of the most complex and unforgiving political environments any leader can ever have to deal with.
And deal with him they must. Since 2010 when, at a NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, Karzai expressed the collective wish of the Afghan people for self-reliance, the United States and our allies have been moving toward Afghanistan, taking the lead on security. Both sides understood that this transition was neither going to be easy - nor completed - without disagreements about approach.
Karzai sensibly said that the "maturity" of the NATO-Afghan partnership would provide for the discussion of these anticipated difficult issues, such as detentions, civilian casualties and corruption, and that there was a premium on the need to resolve these disputes "in a spirit of collaboration and teamwork."
Unfortunately, he has continued to remain less committed to that spirit of collaboration and partnership. As a result, the international effort in support of the Afghan people may be weakening.
By Samuel Burke, CNN
In the only interview that President Hamid Karzai granted while he was in the United Sates, he expressed confidence to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the Afghan people will accept the United States’ demand for immunity for American troops left in place there after the 2014 withdrawal.
Karzai rejected the notion that has been floated that the U.S. might leave “zero troops” in Afghanistan after the pullout is completed at the end of 2014.
He told Amanpour that Afghans need some type of U.S. presence for “broader security and stability” after the withdrawal. For that reason, Karzai believes Afghans will have to grant the U.S. troops left there immunity.
“The United States will need to have a limited number of forces in Afghanistan,” he said, but was unwilling to give an exact number. “That’s not for us to decide. It is for the United States to decide what number of troops they will be keeping in Afghanistan and what strength of equipment those troops will have.”FULL STORY
By Mike Mount
Afghan President Hamid Karzai showed up to the Pentagon on Thursday with a wish list of military equipment to ensure the security of his country by the time NATO forces leave at the end of 2014.
In return, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had a message to deliver – the United States wants to make sure Afghanistan does not become a terrorist safe haven again.
Karzai's meeting with Panetta, occurring under a cloud of mistrust between both countries, was expected to have some tough talk about the future of Afghanistan. But publicly, the image seemed like there was no trouble at all.
It was the first stop for the Afghan president who was to have dinner with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday and meet with President Barack Obama on Friday.
By Chris Lawrence and Mike Mount
The Pentagon expects to get a read on Thursday from Afghan President Hamid Karzai on what he expects from the U.S. military going forward, a defense official said.
"We're going to tell them where we think it's going as far as training the Afghan National Security Forces, and they'll tell us where they think it's going," the official said.
Karzai's visit will cover the residual troop presence following the planned withdrawal of American combat forces in 2014 as well as negotiating an end to the war, another U.S. official said.
That official said reconciliation talks have "shown some signs of life after being dormant for the past year.
By Mike Mount
The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.
The comments by Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security adviser, come as the Pentagon and White House mull over the number of troops that could be left in Afghanistan after 2014 to fight insurgents and train Afghan security forces.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama are scheduled to meet on Friday in Washington.
Rhodes said the administration is considering a range of options, with one scenario having no U.S. troops there. The range, according to defense officials, had until recently been between 6,000 to 15,000 U.S. troops possibly remaining in the country, based on an assessment by the U.S. top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen.
By Mike Mount
The Obama administration's plan to solidify the number of U.S. troops that will be left in Afghanistan after the NATO-led operations end in 2014 should come into greater focus this week as Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington.
With conversations scheduled at the State Department on Wednesday, the Pentagon on Thursday and the White House on Friday, Karzai should get a better sense of how the United States plans to maintain the relationship with his nation in the future.
At the Pentagon, Karzai will be briefed on the plans to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to fight insurgents and to continue to train Afghan Security Forces.
But that plan hinges on what Karzai may want from the United States, according to Defense officials. It's no secret that Karzai wants total Afghan control of detention operations, meaning all Afghans being held by the United States and NATO allies would be turned over to Afghan authorities immediately.
By Chris Lawrence
Pentagon officials are considering a preliminary assessment by Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, on "what he needs going forward" in the country as the U.S. looks to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014, a U.S. official tells CNN.
One of the options being considered is "to keep a force of roughly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan post-2014," according to the official who did not want to be identified discussing ongoing deliberations. The official said that force would comprise a small number of special operations forces dedicated to counterterrorism missions, while the remaining troops "would either continue to train and advise Afghan forces, or assist with logistical issues such as medical evacuations and air support operations."
The "10,000 option" is just one of several being examined, the official said. The options represented "different ends of the spectrum" in terms of troop levels, the official added, but the official did not provide any detail as to what those options are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not presented a formal recommendation to the White House, Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Monday. FULL POST