US forces want to stay put in Afghanistan: Zwak
Civilian deaths during last month's coalition airstrikes in eastern Kunar province amounted to a deliberate act, Ghulam Jilani Zwak told a news conference in Kabul.
The Feb. 18 raid in Ghaziabad district killed more than 60 people, including women and children. The killings drew condemnation from President Hamid Karzai, who ordered a thorough probe into the incident.
On March 1, nine children were killed in another air raid by foreign troops in Manogai district. The incident prompted the top NATO commander to issue a rare public apology.
Zwak alleged the US and its allies wanted to perpetuate instability and justify their presence in the country by killing "non-combatants" and provoking people into violence.
"In public, US officials say they don't seek military bases, because they will have to sign an agreement with Afghanistan if they openly make such a demand. And the agreement will definitely involve certain condition," he said.
If the instability continued, the Afghan government would be forced into asking the US military to set its bases in the country, the official believed, saying the American would not be required to abide any conditions.
Zwak insisted the March 1 raid was also intentional, as children and insurgents could be easily distinguished. "Our investigation found that a two-month child's charred body lay in his mother's arms."
He asked the Karzai administration to tell foreign forces in plain words that if any civilian was killed as a result of their operations, they would be tried under Afghan laws
Zwak also urged the government to convene an international conference and inform participants on "how brutally foreign forces are killing Afghan civilians".
The official called upon all political parties, tribal elders, influential figures and the masses to raise their voice against civilian fatalities through "a national campaign". He also asked fighters to shun violence.
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