Azimi tells ISAF civilian casualties no longer tolerable
KABUL (PAN): The Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman on Monday said international troops should avoid carrying out airstrikes in residential areas, calling civilian casualties no longer tolerable for the Afghan nation.
Gen. Zahir Azimi told a joint press conference with ISAF spokesman Brig. Gen. Günter Katz in Kabul civilian casualties were no longer acceptable and tolerable and more should be done to prevent them.
On April 6, 17 people, including 12 children, were killed in an ISAF airstrike in Shaltan Valley of Shigal district in eastern Kunar province, according to an official confirmation. Two men and four women were wounded in the air raid apparently triggered by an intense gun battle between armed insurgents and Afghan and US troops near the Pakistani border.
President Hamid Karzai has blamed both the US and the Taliban for the civilian deaths, saying ISAF violated international human rights when it carried out the strike.
“We request our international counterparts not to conduct air raids in residential areas,” said Azimi. The Taliban risked civilian lives by attacking Afghan and foreign troops near inhabitant areas, he said, adding ISAF should refuse an airstrike when there was any possibility that civilians could hurt.
Brig. Gen. Katz said all military commanders had been directed to spare no efforts in preventing civilian casualties in security operations against insurgents. He said ISAF had established a procedure on how to protect civilians, hoping it would help largely minimise casualties among civilians.
He said civilian casualties dropped by 50 percent, compared to the previous two years and they would further their efforts to avoid civilian casualties. He said they took seriously every report about civilian casualties.
Azimi said Afghan security forces had strengthened enough to control post-2014 situation in the country. Most foreign combat troops are scheduled to leave next year.
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