US general fired after criticising Karzai
KABUL (PAN): A senior American general has been relieved of his duties in Kabul after criticising President Hamid Karzai and his government during an interview.
Major General Peter Fuller, Deputy Commander of the NATO effort to train and equip Afghan security forces, was fired by US Marine Corps General John Allen, the commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, on Friday after he told the US political website Politico this week that senior Afghan officials have not fully recognised the sacrifices in "treasure and blood" the United States is making for their security.
US military officials said he showed 'extremely poor judgment' during the interview, which led Allen to relieve him of his duties. "These unfortunate comments are neither indicative of our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan, its leadership, or our joint commitment to prevail here in Afghanistan," Allen said in a statement.
He added: "The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission - bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan."
Fuller had expressed irritation over remarks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai who recently said that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war against the United States. American officials, however, have previously said Karzai had been misquoted or misunderstood.
He had said that the Kabul regime was “isolated from reality” and he hoped that the next Afghan president would be an improvement on Karzai.
His comments in the media interview prompted a quick response from the NATO coalition which immediately relieved the two-star general of his duties.
Fuller said: “Why don’t you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You’ve got to be kidding me … I’m sorry, we just gave you id="mce_marker"1.6 billion and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?”
“When they are going to have a presidential election, you hope they get a guy that’s more articulate in public,” he told the Politico website.
He said that the fledgling Afghan military was demanding it be given tanks and fighter jets while appearing not to understand America was going through an economic downturn.
Maj Gen Fuller joined the United States army in 1980 after graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in History and Political Science. His biography says he holds the Distinguished Service Medal.
Until relieved of his duties, he was the deputy commander of programmes at the NATO training mission in Kabul, overseeing plans to equip, train, supply and build bases for the Afghan forces from a id="mce_marker"0 billion budget.