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Karzai to ISAF: Don't be an occupying force

Karzai to ISAF: Don't be an occupying force

May 31, 2011 - 13:12

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): NATOinfo-icon-led international forces would become occupation troops if they did not stop nighttime raids that caused civilians casualties, President Hamid Karzai warned on Tuesday.

The multinational force killed 14 civilians, including five girls, seven boys and two womeninfo-icon, and injured several others three days ago when it bombed houses in the Salam Bazaar area of Nawzad district in southern Helmand province.

At a news conference in Kabul, Karzai once again condemned the bombing raid and warned international servicemembers to end operations that harmed innocent noncombatants.

"If foreign troops continue with night raids, they would turn from a counterterrorism force into an occupying force. And history is witness to the fact how Afghans deal with occupation troops," Karzai told reporters.

He added his government would be duty-bound to take effective steps to prevent civilian deaths, an emotive issue for the Afghan nation, if its warnings against "irresponsible" operations continued to be ignored.

Saturday's deadly explosion in Taloqan, the capital of northern Takhar province, was a heartrending incident, the latest in a series of attacks on honest, committed and patriotic figures, the president said.

Commander of 303rd Pamir police zone, and Gen. Mohammad Daud Daud, provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Shah Jehan Noori, were among the dead. Governor Abdul Jabbar Taqwa and an ISAFinfo-icon commander for northern zone were among 10 others injured.

The president reiterated his administration would no longer allow ISAF aerial bombing of civilian houses. "From this moment, airstrikes on the houses of people are not allowed," he said.

The Afghans could no longer put up with these attacks, he said, adding his government would be forced into taking unilateral action if civilian deaths from air raids continued.

Asserting his national sovereignty, Karzai said foreign forces were in Afghanistaninfo-icon to combat terrorism. They had not come to the country as an occupying force, he remarked, suggesting the war on terror should be fought where militant bases existed.

The president renewed his offer of peace parleys, asking the Afghan Talibaninfo-icon to renounce violence, come to the negotiating table and take part in their country's reconstructioninfo-icon. However, he ruled out peace with Al Qaeda-linked insurgents.

He believed the campaign against administrative corruption would become more difficult if foreigners continued to dictate their terms to Afghanistan.

"The people of Afghanistan, including tribal elders, influential, religious scholars, teachers and intellectuals, would join a traditional gathering to present their opinions.

"You will see the Afghan government reaching a balanced deal," Karzai, said of a proposed Loya Jirgainfo-icon on strategic cooperation with the United States.

He apologised for failing to introduce ministers to the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon for a vote of confidence due to problems and security incidents. He promised to refer his cabinet choices to MPs in the near future.


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