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Afghan President Tells NATO To Pull Back

March 15, 2012 by staff 

Afghan President Tells NATO To Pull Back, Afghanistan’s president, angered by a U.S. soldier’s alleged killings of 16 civilians, demanded Thursday that international troops pull out of villages and rural areas to main bases and let Afghan forces take the lead for countrywide security in 2013, a year ahead of schedule.

In another major blow to the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan, the Taliban militant group said at the same time that it was breaking off talks with the United States, claiming the U.S. kept changing the terms of negotiations.

“Afghan security forces have the ability to keep the security in rural areas and in villages on their own,” Hamid Karzai said in a statement after meeting visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. He said he had conveyed his demand to Panetta during their meeting.

Karzai spoke as Afghan lawmakers were expressing outrage that the U.S. flew the soldier suspected in civilian killings to Kuwait Wednesday night when they were demanding he be tried in the country.

The soldier, who has not been named, is accused of going on a shooting rampage in villages near his base in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing nine children and seven other civilians, and then burning some of their bodies.

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