Karzai slams US troops for killing 16 civilians
HERAT/KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday condemned a US operation he said killed 16 civilians.
Karzai said the killing of innocent Afghans during the US military operations ‘is strengthening the terrorists’ while hundreds of villagers denounced the American military during an angry demonstration.
The Afghan president added that his Defence Ministry had sent Washington a draft technical agreement that would give Afghanistan more oversight with regard to the US military operations. The same letter has also been sent to NATO headquarters.
In recent weeks Karzai has increasingly lashed out at his Western backers over the issue of civilian casualties, even as US politicians and a top NATO official have publicly criticised Karzai for the slow pace of progress.
The back-and-forth comes as the new US administration of President Barack Obama must decide whether to support Karzai as he seeks re-election later this year as part of the overall Afghan strategy of the United States.
Civilian deaths during the US operations have been a huge point of friction between the Afghan government, the US and NATO militaries. Karzai had told parliament last week that the US and NATO had not heeded his calls to stop airstrikes in civilian areas. Karzai had recently sought more control over the activities the US and NATO forces could carry out.
Meanwhile, Afghan police in remote northwestern Afghanistan killed 13 Taliban fighters in a clash that also killed five civilians by Taliban, said a police official.
The Taliban first shot dead a tribal elder and his wife in their home in Badghis province on Saturday because the man did not agree to collect food and money for them, provincial police chief Muhammad Ayub Niazyar said.
Three more local men were killed and five wounded when residents attacked the rebels, Niazyar told AFP. “Thirteen of the Taliban have been killed and seven of them were injured in a clash when the police arrived at the area,” he said. agencies