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Karzai wants UK to explain drone strikes

Karzai wants UK to explain drone strikes

Jun 13, 2013 - 21:43

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): An increasingly assertive President Hamid Karzai on Thursday asked Britain to explain its drone campaign in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

At a meeting with the visiting British defence secretary at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Karzai questioned which agreement allowed UK troops to conduct drone strikes in the country.

The president also reminded Phillip Hammond to transfer Afghan detainees held by the British forces in Afghanistan to his administration as soon as possible. It was a sensitive issue that needed to be resolved urgently, he stressed.

Karzai previously instructed the National Security Council (NSC) to take concrete action for shifting the Afghan detainees being held at British-run detention centres on Afghan soil.

In response to the presidential demands, the defence secretary explained the drone campaign was aimed at intelligence-gathering in support of Afghan security forces, not at strikes on any targets.

He said Britain respected the Afghan government's stance on the question of prisoners' handover, according to a statement from Karzai's office. The process would begin soon once certain human rights concerns were addressed, he promised.

The Afghan-led reconciliation drive and the regional situation also came up for discussion at the meeting, the statement said, without giving further details.

On April 27, four anti-war groups held a protest at a UK airbase from which the country has begun controlling its fleet of drones in Afghanistan. Previously, the remote pilots were deployed only in the US.

The Drone Campaign Network, Stop the War and War on Want staged the peaceful protest over drone use by the Waddington base in Lincolnshire. About four hundred peace campaigners marched from the city of Lincoln to RAF Waddington.



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