ISAF promises caution to curb civilian casualties
A day earlier, President Hamid Karzai, addressing a gathering in eastern Kunar province, asked international troops to halt their operations in Afghanistan and instead target insurgent sanctuaries across the border.
In Asadabad, Karzai met 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.
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 frontier should be destroyed. There are no terrorists in our villages."
Reminded of the presidential call for a halt to foreign military operations, the multinational force spokesman said: "ISAF shares Karzai's concern…, and will continue working to reduce the possibility of civilian casualties to an absolute minimum."
In response to an emailed query from Pajhwok Afghan News, he referred to top NATO commander Gen. David Petraeus recent directives to commanders and attack helicopter aircrew members to reconsider his tactical directive.
"Petraeus has directed ISAF forces to redouble efforts to reduce the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum. Every Afghan civilian death diminishes our cause," the spokesman said, without answering Karzai's call for an end to combat operations.
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