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Karzai Vows to Hold Foreign Troops Accountable for Afghan Casualties


Afghan President Hamid Karzai unveiled his election platform Friday, vowing to hold foreign troops more accountable for civilian casualties.

During a campaign rally in Kabul Friday, President Karzai said he would revisit an agreement with international forces to ensure they operate with greater respect for the rights of Afghan citizens.

The issue was raised during a television debate Thursday between Mr. Karzai's two top challengers, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani. The Afghan president, a front-runner for the August 20 vote, did not take part.

The election is taking place amid increased violence, with thousands of U.S. Marines, along with British and Afghan troops, launching a major anti-Taliban offensive in Helmand. The operation - called "Strike of the Sword" - is designed to protect the civilian population ahead of next month's vote.

On Friday, the U.S. military and NATO officials said two Americans were killed in an attack in southern Afghanistan, raising the number of U.S. servicemen killed during the month of July to 37.

Meanwhile, the top U.S. envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke, spent his second day in Afghanistan Friday to monitor on efforts to stabilize the country.

U.S. military commanders say protecting Afghan civilians and providing security is a focal point of the Obama administration's revamped strategy in Afghanistan.

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

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