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Karzai V. Obama

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is grousing about the coming influx of some 30,000 U.S. troops into his country, warning that their presence near populated areas like Kabul will create more friction and resentment between the U.S. and his people. (Karzai wants our troops along the border with Pakistan to stop militants from entering his country there.) His words are the latest troubling sign of where Afghan public opinion is headed. Many Americans may believe that, unlike in Iraq, our presence has been quite welcome by (non-Taliban) Afghans. But Karzai's increasingly sharp criticisms suggest he senses otherwise. Here's Karzai talking to the Chicago Tribune in must-read interview for anyone interested in this situation:

For years I've been saying that the war on terrorism is not in Afghanistan, that it's in the training camps, it's in sanctuaries [in Pakistan]. Rather than going there, the coalition went around the Afghan villages, burst into people's homes and … committing extrajudicial killings in our country. The latest example was the day before yesterday in Khost, where a man, a woman and a 12-year-old boy were killed. Were they Al Qaeda? And even if they were, was there a court order to shoot them down in their homes? And if they were, was the 12-year-old boy Al Qaeda too? Or the woman? And if this behavior continues, we will be in a deeper trench than we are in today. And the war against terrorism will end in a disgraceful defeat.

--Michael Crowley