Kabul, Nov 16 (ANI): As a damage control measure following Afghan President Hamid Karzai's criticism of the U.S. military's use of special operation raids, his government officials have claimed that the critique does not signal a deepening split between the strategic partners.
"This kind of debate has always been there, and as the relationship is maturing, there is room for substantive reflection on both sides," the Washington Post quoted Karzai spokesman Waheed Omer, as saying.
He added that Afghan and NATO officials agree on most of the current NATO strategy, but that spirited debate on specific issues is "something that is going to take us to another level of partnership as we are hoping to arrive at in the near future."
The reactions have come after the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the raids, which are used to kill and capture Taliban commanders, a "key component" of the war.
"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. . . . There is no question they are having a significant impact on the insurgent leadership and the networks that they operate," Clinton said earlier.
Clinton's comments signalled that the United States is not prepared to alter its tactics despite Karzai's call for an end to the raids, the paper said.
Meanwhile, General David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has reportedly expressed his astonishment and disappointment that Karzai had aired his views publicly, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.
Omer further stated that the president's office has contacted Petraeus's staff and "clarified to NATO that the president is talking within the framework of transition."
The growing strife between the Karzai government and the U.S. military came as Taliban leader Mohammad Omar vowed that the insurgents would not negotiate a peace settlement, despite reports in recent weeks that some Taliban factions have begun preliminary talks, the paper added. (ANI)