Karzai wins; Dunford claims Wardak pullout shows “success”

The U.S. has settled another public spat with President Hamid Karzai over the role of foreign forces in Afghanistan, this time coming to an agreement that speeds additional Afghan security forces into Wardak province to take the place of NATO special operations forces troops.
Karzai last month had said he would expel all special operations forces from Wardak province, which is near the capital city of Kabul, following local accusations that the foreign troops and Afghan local police working with them were harassing, targeting and killing civilians. The U.S. denied the allegations.

It’s the first taste for new Afghanistan war commander Gen. Joseph Dunford of a now familiar Karzai ploy: publicly threatening to block international military activity inside Afghanistan and then relenting.
“I want to thank President Karzai for his leadership,” said Dunford, in a statement.  “This plan meets the president's intent and leverages the growing capacity and capability of the Afghan security forces to meet the security needs of this country.  This solution is what success looks like as we continue the transition to overall Afghan security lead.”
According to reports from Kabul, an Afghan spokesman said special forces would leave the province within days. The U.S., meanwhile, will pull a team out, along with an Afghan local police unit. But it was unclear if the U.S. would remove all special operations forces, as Karzai originally demanded.
“The timeline for moving the ANSF into Nerkh District will be determined by the Afghan Government,” according to an ISAF statement released Tuesday.

Rahmatullah Alizad/AFP/Getty Images