Karzai accused of endangering troops by blocking night raids

Nato commanders claim President's demand has hampered vital operations against the Taliban

The highest number of British deaths in a single attack comes at a time when relations between Hamid Karzai and his Western sponsors are once again enmeshed in acrimony.

The violence against Nato forces and foreign aid agencies, during which six US soldiers were killed by Afghan security staff after American officials burned copies of the Koran, had already shown the volatile nature of the situation.

Tuesday evening's blast, which used a huge quantity of explosives in an area that had supposedly been cleared, showed the Taliban still have the supplies and opportunity to strike.

With Nato's International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf) due to start pulling out its troops, and combat roles finishing in two years' time, the attack highlights the fragility of the situation.

But American and British officials complain that instead of trying to diffuse tensions and support his international allies, President Karzai and his officials have used the crisis for political advantage, repeatedly raising the Koran incident to fuel public anger, despite a public apology from President Barack Obama.

Two issues in particular have fuelled the confrontation between President Karzai and the Americans, stymieing the "strategic partnership" talks to frame the countries' relationship for the next decade.

President Karzai has demanded that Nato forces end night operations against insurgents and hand over all detainees to Afghan jurisdiction. A block on night raids, claim Western commanders, is hampering operations against the Taliban, including efforts to catch them planting improvised explosive devices and moving fighters and weapons.

Mr Karzai is adamant that he will not back down on these points. His office has made public a telephone call to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato Secretary-General, in which he emphasised that any agreement must "respect the Afghan national sovereignty – meaning no imprisonment of Afghans by foreign troops and the transfer of all prisons in foreign force authority, and the end to the night operations by the foreign forces".

Some powerful supporters in Washington of the Afghan mission have declared that Mr Karzai's "intransigence" means that the US should now consider pulling out sooner. Senator Lindsey Graham, who has urged commitment beyond the 2018 combat cut-off date, said: "If the president of the country can't understand how irrational it is to expect us to turn over prisoners, and if he doesn't see that the night raids have been the biggest blow to the Taliban... then there is no hope of winning. That means we fail in Afghanistan and that means Lindsey Graham pulls the plug."

A senior American officer said: "We have explained to the Afghans that most of the night raids are led by members of the Afghan National Security Forces. Isaf is also committed to a detainee transfer system taking place in six months. But it seems there are some people around Karzai determined on not making any compromises."

Western officials believe Mr Karzai's stance may be driven by plans to run again for the Presidency, despite the Afghan constitution forbidding a third term. Rahim Naimtullah, an Afghan political analyst said: "There are all kinds of rumours that he wants to do a Putin and put in someone else for one term, or he may even try to change the constitution. So it will do no harm to be seen to be standing up to the foreigners."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world