Gen. Petraeus facing resistance from Karzai over village defense forces

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Kabul, July 10 (ANI): Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has reportedly raised objections to an American plan to create Afghan village defence forces to fight the Taliban.

According to a Washington Post report, Karzai has suggested that the plan mooted by new NATO commander General David Petraeus requires a revisit.

The idea of recruiting villagers into local defense programs is a key part of the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, and Karzai's stance poses an early challenge to General Petraeus as he tries to fashion a collaborative relationship with the Afghan leader.

Senior U.S. officials say Washington would like to expand the program to about two dozen sites across Afghanistan, double the current number, and hope to overcome Karzai's concerns.

Many fear that such experiments could lead Afghanistan further into warlordism and out-of-control militias. An Afghan official said Karzai is wary of creating "a force that will be viewed as a private militia."

"We should be empowering the community in a way that doesn't risk future stability," the official said.

General Petraeus has been a strong supporter of such programs, as he enjoyed some success with it during his stint in Iraq.

General Petraeus has met with Karzai thrice over the past week and discussed many topics, including the issue of village defense forces.

Karzai has asked General Petraeus to revisit the idea of the village defense.

A senior military official admitted that some of Karzai's concerns were valid, and added that safeguards are needed. (ANI)

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