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Halt to NATO-led operations unlikely

Halt to NATO-led operations unlikely

Mar 13, 2011 - 20:18

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Political analysts said on Sunday President Hamid Karzai's latest demand on foreign forces to stop operations in Afghanistaninfo-icon is unlikely to be met.

On Saturday, the president visited eastern Kunar province to condole with family members of those killed in two separate air strikes by NATOinfo-icon-led forces in Ghaziabad and Manogai districts over the past 22 days. More than 70 civilians, most of them womeninfo-icon and children, were killed and wounded in the raids.

On behalf of Afghan people, the president said he wanted an end to US and ISAFinfo-icon 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."

But a political analyst, Nasrullah Stanikzai, said given the critical situation in Afghanistan, there was no chance of foreign forces halting their operations. However, he added the call could help minimise civilian casualties.

Stanikzai suggested changes in the strategy of foreign forces against insurgents, who mostly use Kalashnikov assault rifles. "Terrorist hideouts, most probably in Pakistaninfo-icon, should be eliminated. Fighters are being targeted in Afghanistan, but their masters and financiers remain safe."

Linking the country's economic growth to security, he said problems of Afghans must be solved so that insurgents could not take advantage of their poverty to lure them to their side.

Another political analyst, Shah Nawaz Tanai, branded the Karzai administration as "too weak to prevent foreigners from operations on Afghan soil".

The former defence minister said avoiding civilian casualties required operations based on credible intelligence tips. "The government should ensure equal rights for all citizens."


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