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Afghan civilian casualties a serious issue: White House

Afghan civilian casualties a serious issue: White House

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On
Mar 11, 2011 - 14:10

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): The United States, taking the issue of civilian casualties in Afghanistaninfo-icon very seriously, would try its best to minimise them, the White House has said.

"The president and his commanders have made clear that we take the issue of civilian casualties very seriously," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference on Thursday.

Carney said both General David Petraeus and Defence Secretary Robert Gates have apologised for those instances in the past where civilians were lost.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at a congressional hearing, said the Obama administration continued to focus on providing direct assistance to the Afghan government.

"We'll also be following how the administration monitors and evaluates projects, because clear goals must be achieved so that the civilian effort complements the military activity. It's only through an integrated strategy that we will ensure that terrorists do not have safe havens to plan attacks on the US," she added.

However, Clinton expressed concern over security changes in Afghanistan. "I'm concerned about security changes by the government of Afghanistan that could make the operating environmentinfo-icon even more difficult for US government employees and contractors."

"A reasonable agreement must be reached so that there's a successful transition to Afghan security forces, but counterinsurgency and development goals can't be put in jeopardy," Clinton stressed.

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