AFGHANISTAN

Karzai: U.S. Must Scale Back

Speaking for his frustrated people, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that the U.S. should be scaling back its operations in his country. He also asked that U.S. Special Operations forces end their night raids, which he says only encourage the Taliban to renew their efforts. "The time has come to reduce military operations," Karzai said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan ... to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life." But that does not seem to be in the cards for the immediate future. The U.S. combat mission is not due to end until 2014, according to recent comments by American officials, despite President Obama’s original July 2011 date to begin withdrawing troops. Karzai was careful to point out that he was not trying to give orders to the Americans, but rather trying to speak frankly to improve his “grudging” relationship with them.