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NATO Chief Sharply Rejects Karzai Statements

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (left) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai
NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has sharply rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai's statements that the presence of NATO-led troops in his country since their deployment 10 years ago had caused much suffering but achieved few gains.

Rasmussen said at a press conference in Brussels on October 10 that the progress achieved in Afghanistan since international troops deployed in the country 10 years ago was "remarkable."

"Progress is remarkable and it cannot be denied," he said. "And whenever I meet Afghans, they express their appreciation for our presence, for all we have done."

In a BBC interview earlier this week, Karzai said that the presence of NATO troops in Afghanistan had "caused Afghanistan a lot of suffering, a lot of loss of life, and no gains because the country is not secure."

Karzai also said that NATO's war on terror was "not conducted where it should be."

He said that instead of focusing on Taliban safe havens in Pakistan, U.S. and NATO troops were conducting raids in Afghan villages.

Karzai said Afghanistan was not happy with "partial security." He said his country wanted "absolute security and a clear-cut war against terrorism."

Karzai's comments came as the United States is negotiating an agreement over the future role of its troops in the country after foreign forces withdraw by the end of 2014.

Karzai, who is due to step down next year, has repeatedly said he is in no hurry to sign the security agreement.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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