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Afghans Still Angered Over NATO Raid in Kabul

  • Ira Mellman

Afghanistan officials are still angry over a Christmas Day raid carried out by NATO forces in Kabul. The raid killed two security guards.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces said Friday that the raid, on what reportedly are the offices of a private armored car company headquartered in the United Arab Emerites, was aimed at a "credible threat" to attack the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

But Waheed Omer, a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said Monday the ISAF force had incorrectly targeted the firm and the raid was ill advised.

"This was an irresponsible way of dealing with an issue within Kabul City, and that was clearly conveyed and discussed yesterday between our security council and the commander of NATO and other colleagues from the international community yesterday," he said.

President Karzai and his National Security Council discussed the raid Sunday with the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus.

Spokesman Omer said there is an agreement in place between the Afghan government and international forces that raids inside cities, such as this one, are to be coordinated with Afghan police.

"On our side, on the Afghan government side, there was a clear cut message to the Minister of Interior that within the city of Kabul or in any big city, the police is the foremost force that has to conduct this kind of operation quietly and without causing chaos and panic amongst the citizens. So that was clearly conveyed and the Interior Minister talked about these steps and it was clearly conveyed to our international partners, to NATO," he said.

For its part, NATO spokesman Brigadier General Josef Blotz said the raid followed procedures. "ISAF coordinated with Afghan security forces to move on an area of interest. So we folowed the ususal procedures and the operation was partnered," he said.

A statement issued by ISAF said a large number of weapons had been found during the operation.

Omer said two police generals who knew about the raid but were not involved in the operation have been suspended for not reporting their knowledge to senior authorities.

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