WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Major General Peter Fuller, a top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was relieved of his duties Friday after making comments critical of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a senior U.S. defense official said.
U.S. General John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, relieved Fuller as deputy commander of the effort to train Afghan security forces after he told the Politico newspaper that Afghan leaders were “isolated from reality,” the official said.
Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters earlier on Friday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was aware of the remarks and Fuller had been speaking for himself and not the U.S. Defense Department.
“The secretary has full trust and confidence in General Allen’s judgment with respect to his decision in this case,” Little said in response to Allen’s decision to relieve Fuller of his duties.
Politico reported Fuller was sharply critical of Karzai during an interview, especially over a recent remark that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan if the United States invaded its territory.
It quoted Fuller as saying Afghanistan did not recognize the sacrifice in “treasure and blood” the United States was making for its security.