Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Karzai warns NATO against airstrikes

President Hamid Karzai says Afghanistan will no longer tolerate NATO airstrikes on civilians

Source: Press TV

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has once again warned the Western military alliance force in Afghanistan against carrying out air strikes in civilian areas.

"NATO must learn that air strikes on Afghan homes are not allowed and that Afghan people have no tolerance for that anymore," Karzai told a news conference in Kabul on Tuesday, a Reuters report said.

The fresh warning comes immediately after an announcement by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that the western alliance is not going to stop night-time airstrikes in Afghanistan.

NATO claims that dozens of militant are killed and detained each month in its night-time raids.

This is while, according to local and international sources, many civilians lose their lives during such nightly NATO airstrikes.

On Saturday, at least 14 civilians, including five girls, seven boys and two women were killed during one of NATO's night raids in the southern Afghan province of Helmand.

A day after the attack, Karzai issued a final ultimatum to the United States and its allies in Afghanistan, saying all unilateral military operations and night raids must come to an immediate stop.

Calling the attack “the murder of Afghanistan's women and children," the Afghan President then ordered the Defense Ministry to take control of the US-led night raids.

Civilian casualties caused by NATO attacks have been a major source of tension between Karzai and the US-led alliance.

Thousands of Afghans have so far lost their lives due to military operations by the US-led foreign troops since the 2001 occupation.

The US invaded Afghanistan with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region. However, after nine years, the region remains unstable and militancy has now expanded towards Pakistan.

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