May 31, 2011
President Hamid Karzai warned NATO-led forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday they were at risk of being seen as an occupying force rather than an ally after a spate of civilian casualties, and said he would take unspecified “action” if they continue.
Raids on Afghan homes in pursuit of insurgents were “not allowed,” and the patience of the Afghan people with the tactic had run out, Karzai said, underlining the challenge of winning popular support for an increasingly violent war.
“We see NATO from the point of view of an ally … If they don’t stop air strikes on Afghan homes, their presence in Afghanistan will be considered as an occupying force and against the will of the Afghan people,” he told reporters.
The fiery speech also underlined Karzai’s desire to forge an image as champion of Afghanistan and distance himself from the Western troops who have spent nearly a decade fighting the Taliban, as resentment against the foreign presence grows.