Karzai calls for quicker NATO withdrawal after photo scandal

President Hamid Karzai called for a quicker withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan Thursday in the wake of photos published showing U.S. troops posing with body parts of dead insurgents.

In a statement, Karzai said, “The only way to put an end to such painful experiences is through an accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces, so Afghanistan can take over its own destiny and, thus, no such things can be repeated by the foreign forces in Afghanistan.”


The photos, published by the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, were the latest in a series of incidents this year that have threatened to harm U.S.-Afghan relations. The incidents include video of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses, the burning of Qurans at a U.S. airbase and a rogue U.S. soldier murdering 17 Afghan civilians.

The Obama administration has called the photos “reprehensible” and condemned them, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apologized Wednesday.

The Pentagon also pushed the LA Times not to publish the photos, which were taken in 2010, because they said the images could incite violence against U.S. troops. Karzai said the photos were “disgusting” and “inhumane” and warned that “similar incidents of odious nature in the past” had sparked an angry reaction from Afghans.

“It is such a disgusting act to take photos with body parts and then share it with others,” he said in a statement.

The U.S. and its NATO allies are planning to announce their plans for transitioning security control to the Afghan security forces at a NATO summit in Chicago in May. The Obama administration hopes that Afghan forces will take the lead on security in 2013, and a full transition will occur by the end of 2014.