Karzai Calls for Troops to Back Off

Hamid Karzai is fed up. The Afghanistan president made a dramatic request on Thursday, asking the U.S. to pull its troops out of villages and confine them to bases—a move that would effectively end combat operations for the 90,000 U.S. soldiers there. Karzai asked for the new tactic personally during a meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is on a diplomatic swing through the country. Meanwhile, in a blow to a nascent peace process, the Afghan Taliban announced that they would be suspending their negotiations with the United States. The group cited Washington’s “alternating and ever-changing position." It’s not clear whether the pullout is related to the shooting of Afghan civilians on Sunday or the recent burning of Qurans at a NATO base, two events that have stoked anti-American sentiment.