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  Clinton defends US Afghan policy after Karzai criticism

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Number of posts : 9
Registration date : 2011-01-17

PostSubject: Clinton defends US Afghan policy after Karzai criticism    Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:58 pm

US special forces night raids have increased dramatically in recent months
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Hillary Clinton has defended US Afghan operations against criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The US secretary of state said targeted attacks on the networks of militant leaders were a key part of US strategy.

The Afghan leader had told The Washington Post there should be fewer US troops, and called for an end to special forces night raids.

Gen David Petraeus, the coalition commander in Afghanistan, was said to be astonished by Mr Karzai's remarks.

He warned that the Afghan leader's latest public criticism of US strategy threatens to undermine progress in the war, and risked making his own position "untenable", Afghan and US officials told the Washington Post.

'Reduce intrusion'
Mrs Clinton said the military operations were in the best interest of the Afghan people and their government.

"We believe that the use of intelligence-driven, precision-targeted operations against high-value insurgents and their networks is a key component of our comprehensive civilian-military operations," said Mrs Clinton.

"There is no question that they are having a significant impact on the insurgent leadership and the networks that they operate."

She insisted the operations were conducted in full partnership with the government of Afghanistan and pointed out Afghan forces were included on each operation.

Mrs Clinton acknowledged that Washington was sensitive to concerns expressed by President Karzai
But Mrs Clinton acknowledged that Washington was sensitive to concerns expressed by President Karzai, who has been increasingly outspoken about the Western mission.

In his Washington Post interview, he had called on the US to reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in the country.

"The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan... to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life," he said.

Calling for a halt to night raids, he said: "I don't like it in any manner and the Afghan people don't like these raids in any manner."

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he respected Mr Karzai's views but did not necessarily agree with them.

Downplaying the Afghan president's comments on Monday, Waheed Omar, Mr Karzai's spokesman, told news agency AP he had not been criticising the overall strategy, and he had confidence in Gen Petraeus.

Mr Karzai may want the US forces to reduce their footprint, but the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says the reality is that Afghan forces simply are not ready to take charge.

Our correspondent adds that there is particular anger from the US side over the president's demand to reduce special forces missions.

The night raids, which have increased dramatically in recent months, are a central plank of Gen Petraeus's strategy to target the Taliban.

But many people would agree that the night raids are deeply unpopular, our correspondent says.

He adds Afghans are also angry that the war against the Taliban has not been won, and that foreign troops have the run of the country.

On Friday, Nato's 28 leaders will begin a two-day summit in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon to discuss handing security responsibility to Afghan forces next year.

Nato hopes for a gradual drawdown of foreign troops from the current peak of about 150,000 soldiers from more than 40 countries.

US President Barack Obama sent an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan last year, raising the level of American troops there to almost 100,000.

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Registration date : 2010-10-07

PostSubject: Re: Clinton defends US Afghan policy after Karzai criticism    Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:55 pm

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Newcastle 4 - 4 Arsenal

Tiote's late strike capped off a truly amazing comeback by Newcastle

By Paul Fletcher

Newcastle produced a stunning comeback from 4-0 down to earn a draw that shocked title hopefuls Arsenal.
Theo Walcott scored after 44 seconds before a Johan Djourou header and a strike from Robin van Persie put Arsenal 3-0 ahead inside 10 minutes.
Van Persie headed Arsenal's fourth but Abou Diaby saw red after the break for pushing Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan.
Barton scored penalties either side of a strike from Leon Best before Cheik Tiote's long-range equaliser.
It was a blistering strike from Tiote, who showed great technique to volley the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards with three minutes of normal time left.
The goal prompted wild celebrations inside St James' Park and completed one of the most remarkable second-half performances in the history of the Premier League.
Newcastle were completely blown away during the opening half of the match but worked up a head of steam after the interval that saw them score four goals in 19 minutes against a bruised and beleaguered Arsenal.

Arsenal 'panic' frustrates Wenger

The result is the perfect tonic for Newcastle, coming at the end of a week that saw the departure of Andy Carroll to Liverpool on Monday and an injury to Shola Ameobi during Wednesday's defeat at Fulham.
Arsenal could have kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United, but they crumbled after the dismissal of Diaby.
The confidence and attacking flair that had characterised their play in the opening half was replaced after the break by a shaky and unsure side that could not defend a handsome lead against a team that had not won in their previous four games.
Arsenal had a frustrating time against the Magpies at the Emirates earlier in the season, creating a host of chances but eventually losing 1-0.
They quickly swept away those bad memories as their afternoon got off to the perfect start on Tyneside when Walcott struck the quickest goal of the day after recalled duo Diaby and Andrey Arshavin combined to send him through.
Fabricio Coloccini was momentarily level with Walcott but the England international quickly out-paced the Argentine before placing his shot in the bottom corner.
Arshavin then swung in a free-kick for a determined Djourou to head his first competitive goal for the Gunners.
As much as the visiting team were slicing open their opponents with decisive attacking play, Newcastle were also guilty of some abysmal defending.

'Incredible' comeback for fans - Pardew

Walcott was given far too much space to pick out Van Persie with a crisp pull-back after Jose Enrique stood off him and the unmarked Dutchman gratefully guided the ball beyond Steve Harper.
Van Persie ghosted between Mike Williamson and Coloccini to head Arsenal's third and he almost completed a first-half hat-trick but Harper saved his low strike at his near post.
Arsenal's cause was not helped when centre-back Djourou limped off after 48 minutes to be replaced by Sebastien Squillaci.
But the pivotal moment in the match came after 50 minutes when Diaby was dismissed by referee Phil Dowd.
The France international completely lost his composure after he and Barton both challenged for a loose ball.
The Arsenal midfielder put one hand on the back of Barton's neck before pushing him to the floor and then shoved Nolan.
Keeper Wojciech Szczesny denied Danny Simpson seconds later but Newcastle's improvement was rewarded with a goal, Barton sending Szczesny the wrong way after Laurent Koscielny clumsily brought down Best.
An unsavoury incident followed the goal when Kevin Nolan tangled with Szczesny as he tried to retrieve the ball from the back of the net.

Newcastle just trying to avoid cricket score - Barton

Szczesny palmed clear a header from Williamson before Toon striker Best had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.
However, Best did make it 4-2 when he beat Clichy to a cross from Jose Enrique and shot beyond Szczesny from eight yards.
Some of the Newcastle supporters had appeared to leave at half-time, despondent at the scoreline, but by now the vast majority who remained were passionately roaring on their team.
And Newcastle scored again when Barton struck his second spot-kick after Koscielny was adjudged to have fouled Williamson as they challenged for an aerial ball.
And one of the most amazing comebacks was completed when Tiote smashed a strike from the edge of the box into the bottom corner after Arsenal failed to clear a free-kick.
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