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    Karzai bans Afghan forces from calling strikes

    KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Monday issued a formal decree banning Afghan security forces from requesting NATO airstrikes during operations in residential areas.

    The Ministries of Defence and Interior Ministry, as well as the National Directorate of Security -- the Afghan spy service -- were directed not to seek air support from foreign troops under any circumstances.

    Issued by the Office of Administrative Affairs, the brief presidential order said: "Don't call for air support from international forces during operations in residential areas."

    On Saturday, Karzai said Afghan forces would be barred from seeking air support from NATO-led troops during operations in rural areas.

    An air raid by ISAF that killed 10 civilians in eastern Kunar province on Wednesday had been conducted at the request of local security personnel, the president said.

    Five children, four women, a man and three insurgent commanders were killed in the raid on a militant hideout in the Shegal district.

    On Sunday, the top commander of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan supported Karzai’s intention to ban government forces from requesting airstrikes during operation.

    The operations could still be successful, ISAF Commander Gen. Joseph Dunford told journalists in Kabul. He promised continued support to Afghan partners within the framework suggested by Karzai.