Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Afghan troops are now mostly in the lead in Afghanistan and are ready to defend the country in their first fighting season against the Taliban, U.S. commanders said Thursday at a ceremony in Kabul on Thursday.
U.S. special operations forces handed over their base in a strategic district of eastern Afghanistan to local Afghan special forces on Saturday, senior U.S. commanders said. The withdrawal satisfies a demand by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that U.S. forces leave the area after allegations that the Americans' Afghan counterparts committed human rights abuses there on U.S. orders.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's first meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a bumpy ride that included public criticism of America's military role followed by an abrupt cancellation of a planned press conference.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday accused the Taliban and the United States of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if most foreign troops leave — an allegation the top American commander in Afghanistan rejected as "categorically false."
A series of security problems and fractured relations with Afghan leaders plagued Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's first trip here as Pentagon chief, including the Afghan president's accusations that the United States and the Taliban are working in concert to show that violence in the country will worsen if most coalition troops leave.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday officially banned the nation's security forces from requesting international airstrikes during operations in residential areas.
The top American commander in Afghanistan said on Sunday that he believes the U.S.-led NATO coalition can operate effectively despite the Afghan president's decision to ban Afghan security forces from requesting airstrikes in residential areas.
Defense secretary Leon E. Panetta released a statement welcoming President Obama's decision to halve the number of U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, from about 68,000 to 34,000 by this time next year.
The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee is expressing confidence in Gen. John Allen, who is entangled in a sex scandal that has led to the resignation of the CIA director.
President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to be the next NATO supreme allied commander.
He said the Afghans are ready to take over the security lead this summer, protect the Afghan population from the Taliban, and provide security for "inclusive, free and fair elections" in 2014, when United States will have cut its force in half to about 33,000.