Top US commander in Afghanistan warns Karzai comments increase risk
March 14th, 2013
12:43 PM ET

Top US commander in Afghanistan warns Karzai comments increase risk

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."

soundoff (31 Responses)
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  10. jkantor267

    Karzai only does it because he knows Obama is too much of a p****y to do anything about it.

    March 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Reply
  11. Lailee

    I guess we have a responsiblity for all of this. We clearly put him in power and from the beginning his government was corrupt and mafia like. The u.s. could have taken him out at any time but it chose not to.
    Clearly, the Afghans are better off now then they were 12 yrs ago. But I can tell you from personal experience that everyone in Afghanistan hates Karzai and his corrupt ways. The government is run by a bunch of tugs and it si really no different than a "john gotti" operation which is headed by Karzai.

    He was clearly a puppet which put in power by the u.s. and has held on to power with the u.s. assitance.
    But here lies, the irony...why does the u.s. always support and bring to power tugs such as Karzai, Sadam Huessien, Hossnie Mubarak, and the Taliban? Because at that moment it serves the U.S.'s immediate interests.

    I agree that Karzai is a dog. He has been behaving very badly not only towards the U.S. but his own people. A misbehaved dog should be eventually put to sleep. His time is coming to an end.

    March 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Reply
  12. American't

    Our puppets don't always play ball. Shocking!

    March 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Twelve years! After all this time, all the American and Nato county's sacrifices in lives lost and maimed, billions of dollars wasted and Karsai behaves this way??? There is no hope left for this stupid country! US and Nato forces should immediately pull out. Let Karsai have his country! What happens can't be too much worse than what is happening now, it just won't get any better.
      Remember Viet Nam? Wisely, the decision was made that "enough is enough"! Today, Viet Nam is a peaceful country and engaged in international trade. Afghanistan cannot transition as well, not under Karsai. But foreign military forces will never bring peace to this country.

      March 15, 2013 at 7:48 am | Reply
  13. Sam

    There is an interesting article about how Karzai’s policies are not only alienating the coalition force, but also undermining the nation’s chance at a stable future:

    March 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  14. Danny

    Karzai is a clown

    March 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  15. larke marie

    Why do we waste our time dealing with this nut! He is corrupt and incompetent, lets see how long he lasts without us propping him up.

    March 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply

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