The top American commander in Afghanistan fired one of his senior officers Friday for making insulting remarks about Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller reacted with frustration when asked about Karzai’s recent statement that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war with the United States.
“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 $11.6 billion and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?” Fuller told Politico.
Fuller, who was the No. 2 general in charge of training Afghan forces, made the remarks in the United States, where he was attending a conference. He also called Karzai “erratic” and expressed the hope that Afghans would elect someone more articulate in the future, according to Politico.
Fuller had planned to return to Afghanistan this weekend.
“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,” said Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who oversees U.S. and NATO forces in the country.
Fuller had spent most of the past two decades overseeing weapons programs for the Army in the United States rather than leading combat troops. He arrived in Afghanistan in June, where he focused primarily on helping the Afghans field new armored vehicles and improve processes for getting spare parts, food and fuel to combat units.
Fuller could be reassigned to another job in the Army, but it is more likely that he will be asked to retire.