Karzai warns ISAF over civilian deaths
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, have agreed on speeding up preparations for a strategic cooperation deal between the two countries, the Presidential Palace said on Thursday.
Speaking over a video conference link with Obama on Wednesday night, Karzai hit out at foreign forces over civilian deaths, warning against "daily killing" of his countrymen, a statement from his office said.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) could face "huge problems" if civilian fatalities continued, the president said, a day after nine children died in an airstrike in eastern Kunar province.
Karzai asked his the US president for an investigation into civilian killings, the statement said. Obama expressed deep regrets and said he had instructed US soldiers to take serious steps to ensure the protection of ordinary Afghans.
"I once again point out that ISAF must focus on terrorist bases and havens or otherwise, with the daily killing of innocent civilians, they will cause huge problems for themselves," the president said.
Also on Wednesday, the commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan apologised after an investigation concluded that coalition troops killed nine children. Gen. David Petraeus said he would personally apologise to Karzai after his return from a trip to London.
"We are deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologise to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and, most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions," Petraeus said in a statement
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