Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent warning of taking “unilateral action” if NATO does not stop airstrikes in his country could complicate US President Barack Obama’s uncertain decision on how quickly to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.
“I warn NATO forces that a repeat of airstrikes on the houses of Afghanistan’s people will not be allowed. The people of Afghanistan will not allow this to happen anymore, and there is no excuse for such strikes,” Karzai had said.
He said Afghanistan would be “forced to take unilateral action” if the bombings do not stop there, but did not specify what that action would be.
The timing of Karzai’s remarks appear to have doubled the political problem for US policymakers, with reports saying that Obama would make a decision this month on how fast to begin withdrawing troops in July, the Washington Post reports.
According to reports, the US and Afghanistan are now negotiating the terms of their strategic partnership even after NATO hands over power to Afghan forces in 2014.
Some US officials said that Karzai might be attempting to strengthen his position ahead of the arrival of a new US military commander, Lieutenant General John R Allen, and new US ambassador, Ryan C Crocker.
It has been noticed that ever since the top US commander in Afghanistan, General David H. Petraeus took command in July, the number of American and allied airstrikes in the country has increased. His predecessor, General Stanley A. McChrystal, however, had minimised the use of airstrikes to avoid angering Afghan civilians.
According to the United Nations (UN) report, 2,777 civilian deaths were recorded in Afghanistan last year. Of those, 75 percent were caused by insurgents, while 16 percent were attributed to NATO and Afghan forces.