KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that the United States must reduce the visibility and intensity of its military operations in Afghanistan and end the increased U.S. Special Operations forces night raids that aggravate Afghans and could exacerbate the Taliban insurgency.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Karzai said that he wanted American troops off the roads and out of Afghan homes and that the long-term presence of so many foreign soldiers would only worsen the war.

His comments placed him at odds with U.S. commander Gen. David Petraeus, who has made capture-and-kill missions a central component of his counterinsurgency strategy.

“The time has come to reduce military operations,” Karzai said. “The time has come to reduce the presence of, you know, boots in Afghanistan . . . to reduce the intrusiveness into the daily Afghan life.”

To American commanders, the night strike missions are a crucial weapon to capture Taliban commanders and weaken the 30,000-man insurgency.