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Force ISAF to spare civilians: President to UN

Force ISAF to spare civilians: President to UN

Mar 10, 2011 - 19:23

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai on Thursday called on the United Nations to put pressure on foreign troops to exercise greater care during operations against insurgents to spare civilians.

The president made the call at a meeting with Ivan Simonovic, the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights, at the Presidential Palace, a statement issued from Karzai's office said.

On Wednesday, the worldinfo-icon body said last year was the deadliest yet for civilians in the Afghan war, with a 15 percent jump in the death toll. The 2,777 civilian deaths underscore the level of violence in Afghanistaninfo-icon, where foreign troops will start transferring security control to Afghan forces in July.

Air strikes by NATOinfo-icon-led forces killed 171 people, according to the report released by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission.

"Civilian casualties, either at the hands of Talibaninfo-icon or foreign troops, are unacceptable and it is a matter of great concern for us. We have repeatedly asked for an end to it," Karzai was quoted as saying.

"As president of Afghanistan, it is my responsibility to protect my people. A continuation of civilian deaths is no longer acceptable to the government and people of Afghanistan," Karzai added.

Simonovic presented the president the UN report on casualties in the Afghan war. He said the UN was deeply concerned at the increasing number of civilian deaths in the ongoing war.

The two leaders also discussed efforts at improving womeninfo-icon's shelters in the country, with Karzai pledging close cooperation with the UN in protecting human rights in the country.

Meanwhile, Russian National Security Advisor Nikolay Patrushev also called on Karzai. They conferred on the situation in Afghanistan and the region at large.

Strategic cooperation with the US and the fight against terrorism and drugs were the main topics that came under discussion.

Patrushev assured Karzai of Russian assistance to Afghanistan. The president called his recent visit to Moscow a success and thanked the Russian government and people for giving him a warm reception.


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