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Afghan Gov't Wants Foreign Troops to Remain in Afghanistan


Afghan government officials say they want foreign troops to remain in the country, despite their condemnation of a U.S. air strike that reportedly killed dozens of civilians.

Homayun Hamidzada, a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, told reporters Tuesday the government does not want international troops to leave until Afghan security forces are able to defend the country without outside help.

The statement comes after the Afghan government demanded a review into the presence of foreign troops in the country, following Friday's air strikes in the western province of Herat.

Tuesday, the United Nations said it has found "convincing evidence" that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in the U.S.-led coalition operation.

In a statement, the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan based its finding on the testimony of eyewitnesses and others.

The U.S. Department of Defense says the attack was a legitimate strike on a Taliban target, killing 25 militants and five civilians.

Afghanistan's Defense Ministry has said the raid on a suspected military compound succeeded in killing its main target, Taliban commander Mullah Siddiq.

Separately, officials with the Japanese Foreign Ministry say information that a Japanese aid worker has been freed in Afghanistan is erroneous. Japanese officials say Afghan police continue to search for 31-year-old Kazuya Ito, who was abducted by gunmen earlier Tuesday in the city of Jalalabad. Earlier, an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman had said Ito was freed during a police operation.

Ito works for a non-governmental group called Peshawar-kai that runs medical clinics in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was kidnapped while working on a project in eastern Nangarhar province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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