Saturday, February 16, 2008

Set pull-out date, says Afghan government media

Reuters reports that an Afghan government-run newspaper editorial demands that US and NATO forces set a date for their withdrawal. It is thought to be the first time such an opinion was heard from such quarters.

Karzai under foreigners' influence-Afghan paper
By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL, Feb 16 (Reuters) - President Hamid Karzai is under the influence of foreign powers and troops led by NATO and the U.S. must set a firm date for their departure from Afghanistan, a government-run daily newspaper said on Saturday.

The remarks are the first of their kind in an Afghan paper about Karzai and foreign troops in Afghanistan, where there is frustration over growing insecurity and rampant corruption. ...

Anis [the government-run paper] said Karzai's government was a protectorate and the nation must discuss the issue of national sovereignty with "the foreigners" before next year's presidential election.

"For the appointment of each high-ranking employee, Mr. Karzai has to propose individuals and then (announce their appointment) after the approval of foreigners," Anis said. ...

"...The long-term presence of foreign military troops in Afghanistan with the justification 'that the Afghan government's military forces are not able to defend the government's authority', is in no way defensible," it said.

"These forces should come up with a precise projection about the continuation of their presence in Afghanistan so that society and the government know when to complete the priorities of government-building." (link)

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