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Karzai Stirs 'Concerns' In Washington


Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

WASHINGTON -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai is again stirring reactions from Congress and the White House.

A U.S. senator has told reporters she has "grave concerns" about Karzai's stated commitment to clean up corruption and about his reliability as a long term U.S. ally.

Democratic Senator Kristen Gilibrand recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan where she and other senators held meetings with Karzai. Gillibrand, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Karzai has taken positions "contrary to America's interests."

Over the weekend, the Afghan leader stunned many in Washington when he called on U.S. forces to carry out fewer nighttime raids and reduce the intensity of military operations in general.

Reacting to those remarks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that tactical revisions have been made in U.S. military maneuvers to "recognize the sensitivity of conducting night operations," but she defended U.S. operations.

"On President Karzai's concerns -- we share these concerns. We've discussed them on a number of occasions," she said. "But 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."

U.S. President Barack Obama is in the process of reviewing U.S. strategy in Afghanistan with an eye toward starting troop withdrawals in 2011.
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