Conflict & Justice

US commander in Afghanistan fires Army general over comments


A military honor guard prepares to present colors at a departure ceremony for Afghanistan-bound soldiers on November 4, 2011 in Fort Carson, Colorado. The commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, fired Major Gen. Peter Fuller, a senior U.S. Army general, on Friday for disparaging comments he made about President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan government.


John Moore

The commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan fired a senior U.S. Army general Friday for disparaging President Hamid Karzai and calling the government's leaders erratic, ungrateful and "isolated from reality."

CNN reported:

Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, said Major Gen. Peter Fuller was relieved of duty, effective immediately, for making "inappropriate public comments."

Fuller, a recent arrival to Afghanistan, was surprisingly frank in his views during an interview with Politico, saying among other things:

“We’re giving them fish while they’re learning, and they want more fish... [They say,] ‘I like swordfish, how come you’re giving me cod?’ Guess what? Cod’s on the menu today.”

He also blasted Karzai for remarking that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war against the U.S., calling them "erratic" and adding, "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?'"

And he said the Afghans don't understand the extent to which the U.S. is in economic distress or the "sacrifices that America is making to provide for their security," according to the Associated Press.

Allen, in a statement reported by Wired, said: "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."

Allen also reportedly made a point of saying: "The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission — bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan."

Wired puts this spin on Fuller's indiscretion:

You would think that after the Rolling Stone profile that cost Stanley McChrystal his command in Afghanistan, generals would be extremely careful about venting steam to reporters. But no.

Fuller, a native of Andover, Mass., according to the AP,  graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor of arts in history and political science and also holds a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pa.