Advertisement

Karzai resists village defense plan

Karzai resists village defense plan
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) and commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan U.S. Gen. David Petraeus meet at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 3, 2010. Petraeus arrived on July 2 to assume command of the international military mission in Afghanistan. UPI/Massoud Hossaini/Pool | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Gen. David Petraeus has encountered resistance from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to a plan to recruit villagers to fight the Taliban, U.S. officials say.

A first meeting last week between Petraeus and Karzai grew tense after the Afghan leader renewed objections to the plan, unnamed U.S. officials told The Washington Post.

Advertisement

The village defense forces are seen as critical in the U.S. strategy against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Karzai's stance represents a significant hurdle to Petraeus as he takes charge of the war effort in Afghanistan.

Senior U.S. officials said the United States wants to double the number of sites for developing village defense forces to about two dozen and they hope to overcome Karzai's concerns.

An Afghan official told the Post Karzai fears creating "a force that will be viewed as a private militia."

"We should be empowering the community in a way that doesn't risk future stability," the official said. "We are not looking for a solution only for our sake. We try to find solutions for the sake of the U.S. and Afghanistan."

Advertisement

Under the program, villagers would be paid by the United States and trained by U.S. Special Operations Forces.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement