Bloomberg News

Deputy U.S., NATO Training Chief in Afghanistan Is Fired

November 07, 2011

(Adds general’s reported comments in fourth paragraph, U.S.-Afghan government relations in fifth, sixth.)

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan has fired a deputy commander in the training program for his remarks critical of the Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai.

Army Major General Peter Fuller, deputy commander for programs in the NATO Training Mission, made “inappropriate” comments and has been relieved of his duties, the coalition said in an e-mailed statement today.

The “inappropriate” remarks are not “indicative of our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan, its leadership or our joint commitment to prevail here in Afghanistan,” said Marine General John Allen, the top commander of the U.S.-led coalition, in the e-mailed statement.

Fuller was quoted yesterday by Politico, a Washington-based news organization, as saying the Afghan government was “isolated from reality” and didn’t recognize the sacrifices the U.S. was making in Afghanistan. He also said a recent comment by Karzai was “erratic,” according to Politico.

The Obama administration and its diplomats and military leaders in Afghanistan have struggled to maintain productive relations with Karzai, who has criticized the U.S. on issues such as civilian deaths even as statistics show most are caused by Taliban attacks.

President Barack Obama is counting on improved civilian leadership and training of the Afghan police and army to ensure the U.S. can continue to reduce its force of almost 100,000 and hand over lead control for security nationwide by the end of 2014.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “has full trust and confidence in General Allen’s judgment with respect to his decision in this case,” said Navy Captain John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon.

--Editors: Terry Atlas, Steven Komarow

To contact the reporter on this story: Viola Gienger in Washington at vgienger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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