How Afghanistan views the NATO summit
As NATO officials prepare to meet in Lisbon on Friday, Afghans are watching. Many would like to see NATO forces here take Karzai more seriously.
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Despite this, most Afghans would also like to see NATO forces here take the requests of their leaders more seriously.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Fighting continues in Afghanistan
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Over the past week, Karzai called on US and other foreign forces to stop their night raids and reduce their overall patrols. Although the remarks were popular among Afghans, who have long spoken out against night raids, Karzai’s comments drew much ire from top American commander Gen. David Petraeus, who says he sees the night raids as a critical component of his strategy.
While NATO commanders are also likely to make optimistic claims about their progress against the insurgency, they admit that it will be impossible to determine just how much of an effect the surge has had until next spring when the fighting season resumes in warmer weather.
In particular, Petraeus is likely to point to the military’s success in capturing or killing a number of mid- and senior-level officials from various militant organizations here.
What militants say
Militants, however, say that while the US and its allies may be having some success targeting their organizations, they have failed to eliminate anyone who cannot be replaced.
“The martyrdom of a commander does not affect the jihad, because we are Afghans and we are Muslims. When someone gets martyred it encourages more and more Afghans to fight against the foreigners. We just get another commander,” says Abu Bakr, a mid-level commander for Hizb-e Islami, a powerful insurgent group, in restive Kunar province. He also says that ISAF officials often exaggerate the importance of who they kill or capture.
Still, many within the insurgency say they will be watching the talks closely to see what it means for the future of the war.
“Personally, I hope they finalize the withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan. I don’t want to see any more bloodshed and innocent people killed in this country on a daily basis,” says Ihsan, a low-level Taliban commander in Kandahar.