4 March 2013, 11:04

NATO chief arrives in Afghanistan for unannounced talks

NATO chief arrives in Afghanistan for unannounced talks

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, his press office reports.

Mr. Rasmussen is expected to hold a meeting with President Hamid Karzai and other Afghani leaders.

The NATO chief will also meet international troops deployed in the country and the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Kabul wants control over units NATO formed in Afghanistan 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that Kabul should get control over the military units formed by NATO in Afghanistan.

In the decree issued on Thursday the president said that he had appointed a special commission which would ask the coalition forces to hand over control to Kabul in three months.

Last week Karzai asked the US to withdraw its forces form Vardak province in two weeks after reports that Afghan soldiers who served in the special forces in that province kidnapped tortured and killed peaceful citizens. 

Afghan general: too early to reject US help 

Afghanistan’s Former Deputy Interior Minister General Abdul Hadi Khalid believes that the recent order of President Hamid Karzai to immediately withdraw a joint US-Afghan special forces unit from the province of Wardak needs serious reconsideration. The General said so in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

President Karzai gave this order after information had appeared that Afghan servicemen from this unit of special forces had kidnapped, raped and tortured people.

“Even if this information is true, it would be wrong to withdraw this unit from Wardak,” General Khalid says. “Wardak is one of Afghanistan’s less stable provinces. The Taliban and other Islamists are active there, and the only force that can give feasible resistance to them is the special forces. It is joint the US-Afghan special forces units thanks to whom the situation in the provinces of Wardak, Logar and Ghazni is currently more or less stable.”

“The logic behind President’s Karzai’s order is probably that Afghans should themselves, without the help of Americans, bring order to their country,” the General continues. “However, in many villages, Islamists’ positions are too strong for the Afghan army to cope with them without any outside help.”

“It looks like the authorities of Wardak just want to shift the blame for their inability to stabilize the situation in the province on the special force unit,” General Abdul Hadi Khalid says. “However, if the population has a negative attitude towards the special forces, this would only play into the hands of Islamists. At present, there is a serious threat that if US and NATO forces leave Wardak, Islamists would seize control over the province.”

“I believe that a supreme military institution should be formed in Afghanistan, which would consist both of Afghans and Americans, and which would distribute functions among lower military institutions,” the General concluded.

He also added that President Karzai should dismiss “several incompetent people” in governments of provinces.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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