A prominent U.S. newspaper says Afghanistan's president wants the U.S. to reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan.
In an interview published Sunday in The Washington Post, Hamid Karzai says he also wants the U.S. to stop night raids that he says aggravate Afghans and could incite some people to join the Taliban insurgency. The newspaper reports the Afghan president is seeking veto power over the nighttime operations.
Mr. Karzai told the newspaper the time has come to "reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life." He said Afghans have become impatient with the presence of U.S. soldiers in their homes and armored vehicles on their roads.
The president says Afghan troops are ready to take more responsibility for Afghanistan's security.
Mr. Karzai told The Washington Post he hoped his candid remarks would help improve what he called a "grudging" relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan.
The newspaper says the Afghan president talked about his deep skepticism of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, including last year's presidential election, which he said was manipulated by U.S. officials.
The Washington Post story says Mr. Karzai's comments come as U.S. officials are stressing the combat mission in Afghanistan will not end until 2014. The newspaper says U.S. officials are "playing down" the importance of July 2011, the date U.S. President Barack Obama has set to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Comments made Sunday by the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan seemed to support that strategy, when Richard Holbrooke emphasized to journalists in Pakistan that "substantial combat forces" would not be phased out in Afghanistan until 2014.