President gives ISAF final warning over civilian deaths
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai issued a final warning to NATO-led troops over civilian deaths on Sunday -- hours after 14 non-combatants were killed in a new airstrike in southern Helmand province.
The fatalities resulting from the raid in Nawzad district included women and children, said the governor's spokesman Daud Ahmadi. Governor Gulab Mangal, condemning the casualties, said a team had been set up to investigate the raid.
President Karzai strongly denounced the latest instance of collateral damage, his office said in a statement. "The US and ISAF forces have been told repeatedly that their irresponsible operations are harming innocent and poor Afghans."
The statement added: "Although such raids trample all human and moral values, NATO-led forces seem not to heed our warnings," the president was quoted as saying.
On behalf of Afghans, Karzai issued a final warning to foreign soldiers and condemned the Helmand strike as a blunder. He directed the provincial authorities to probe the raid and compensate the victims' families.
Meanwhile, a statement from the NATO-led force said that it was aware of the reports alleging civilian casualties in Doab district of Nuristan and Nawzad town of Helmand.
"ISAF takes such reports very seriously, and there have been joint assessment teams, composed of both Afghan and ISAF officials, dispatched to both areas to conduct investigations.
Both investigating teams were currently on the ground, and would release their findings in due course, the alliance added.
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