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Civilian deaths hampering deal with US: Karzai

Civilian deaths hampering deal with US: Karzai

Dec 25, 2011 - 14:09

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Afghanistaninfo-icon would not sign a proposed strategic cooperation agreement with the United States if foreign troops did not halt nighttime-raids, President Hamid Karzai warned on Sunday.

Opposed by Afghanistan's neighbours, the deal allowing the creation of American military bases in Afghanistan for a decade is close to being finalised. The pact, endorsed by the Loya Jirgainfo-icon in mid-November, will go to parliament for approval. 

President Karzai's warning to walk out of the planned accord came after last month's civilian casualties in International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) airstrikes in Paktia, Kandahar and Kapisa provinces.

Mohammad Tahir Sapi, the head of an official delegation appointed by Karzai to probe the emotive incidents, said on Saturday seven people were killed and two others wounded in the latest airstrike in Shah Joi area of Zherai district in Kandahar.

At a meeting late on Saturday night, the investigators presented their findings to the president. The team found that several innocent residents, including womeninfo-icon and children, were killed and wounded in the air raids.

The deadly night raids and irresponsible operations by NATOinfo-icon-led soldiers had been a huge concern for Afghanistan over the past few years, hampering the signing of the strategic cooperation agreement with the US, the president said.

A statement from the Presidential Palace quoted Karzai as saying the agreement would not be inked if the night raids and house searches were not stopped. The victims' families have urged Karzai to direct the governors to implement the Loya Jirga's suggestions regarding "irresponsible operations".

On Nov. 24, two people were killed in Maiwand district, Sapi told a news conference in Kabul yesterday. The ISAF commander in the south had apologised for the incident, he said, adding their investigations revealed the victims were civilians.

In central Kapisa province, an ISAF-fired rocked hit a house in the Bahadar Khel village of Tagab district, killing seven people and injuring two others, he said.

Although the ISAF commander in the province had claimed those killed were Talibaninfo-icon financiers, Sapi insisted the dead had no links to the insurgents.

One woman was killed and five others were injured in the Ahmadabad district of southeaster Paktia province, where ISAF raided the house of the counternarcotics director. The director was detained along with two sons and his seven-month pregnant wife killed in the raid.



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