Karzai, Petraeus in talks on Afghan militias: Spokesman
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 11:53
Kabul: Afghanistan's President and the commander of foreign forces in the country are trying to reach an agreement on creating a grassroots militias to fight the Taliban, an official said Tuesday.

US media have reported that US General David Petraeus, who took over command of 140,000 US and NATO troops on July 4, has been pushing for the establishment of Iraq-style tribal militias to fight militants in remote Afghan villages.

The reports have said that President Hamid Karzai has opposed the plan because of its potential to weaken his government.

Karzai's spokesman today confirmed that talks have been going on between the two men, but he played down any difference of opinion on the militias.

"Everybody agrees that we have to make sure that if these forces are developed that they are developed with all the necessary checks and balances required by the constitution," Waheed Omar told reporters.

"The good point is that on most of it we all agree. But we (still) have to agree on some other issues," he said, without elaborating.

He said the talks between Karzai and Petraeus were continuing and the two men had met again today, along with US ambassador to Kabul Karl Eikenberry.

Afghan and NATO officials said today's meeting was the ninth between Karzai and Petraeus since the US general took command after last month's dismissal of his predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal.

Omar said a final decision on setting up village militias was likely as early as tomorrow, and said it could go either way.


First Published: Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 11:53

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