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Karzai: Foreign Troops Must Prevent Afghan Civilian Deaths


Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Afghanistan is ready to support foreign troops in the fight against terrorism, but that they must prevent civilian casualties.

He spoke Tuesday in the eastern province of Khost, where he attended a memorial ceremony for three Afghans killed in a U.S. raid last week.

Mr. Karzai accused coalition forces of violating agreements to avoid civilian casualties.

The U.S. insists the three people killed in Khost were linked to al-Qaida, but Afghan officials say they were civilians.

On Monday, Mr. Karzai asked top U.S. military official, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, to fully investigate the incident.

Mr. Karzai said foreign troops should not be allowed off their bases to search Afghan homes.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission released a report Tuesday saying night raids stoke anger and resentment among Afghans against foreign forces.

The Afghan president's office says Mr. Karzai also told Mullen the Afghan government must be consulted about the activities of the 30,000 extra U.S. troops expected to arrive in the country next year.

Separately, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is refuting reports that his group is planning talks with the Afghan government in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or elsewhere.

Mr. Karzai has said he would be willing to protect Omar if he entered peace talks.

The United States has offered a $10 million reward for his capture, and has signaled its opposition to negotiations between Omar and the Afghan government. The Taliban leader is believed to be in hiding in western Pakistan.

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

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