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    Karzai seeks end to war on Afghan soil

    ASADABAD (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Saturday asked NATO-led troops to halt their operations in Afghanistan and instead target militant hideouts across the border.

    Accompanied by a number of advisers and the deputy NATO commander, Karzai arrived in Asadabad, the provincial capital, to condole with families of airstrike victims in Ghaziabad district.

    He met with relatives of the individuals killed and wounded during the Feb. 18 coalition airstrike. More than 70 people, including women and children were killed during the raids in Ghaziabad and Nanglam Valley last month.

    Before addressing a huge gathering of tribal elders at the Syed Jamaluddin Afghani Hall, Karzai offered prayers for the dead, Kunar Governor Wahidullah Fazli told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    In his speech, the president said they were thankful to foreign countries for assistance, but they were extremely shocked over the killing of civilians at the hands of international troops in Afghanistan.

    The job of international troops is to save Afghans and help them strengthen peace, stability and sovereignty, Karzai said. "It is the right of this nation to protest civilian deaths," he added.

    "Afghan suffered a lot in the nearly decade-long war. No other nation in the world has suffered as much as Afghans. The war has been imposed on us and we want an end to this. There should be no bombings and no unnecessary arrests," the president stressed.

    He said when the Kunar incident happened, NATO leaders apologised to him, but he remained silent and did not answer their apologies. "We know how to live. We have a history … and respect guests. My silence does not mean we will always respect the guests," he warned.

    On behalf of the Afghan people, the president said he wanted an end to US and ISAF forces operations on Afghan soil. "If the war is against terrorists, then militant hideouts across the border be destroyed. There are no terrorists in our villages."

    He insisted the people of Afghanistan wanted peace and they were ready for friendship and cooperation with the international community only if the war was stopped.

    Karzai gave the NATO deputy commander photos of the children killed in the February 28 bombardment and told him to show it to his government and people.