News / Asia

    Afghanistan Demands End to Airstrikes on Houses

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference at the Presidential palace in Kabul, May 31, 2011
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference at the Presidential palace in Kabul, May 31, 2011

    Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is warning NATO forces in his country that he will no longer allow them to target houses with airstrikes.  The warning follows an airstrike Afghan officials say killed 14 people Saturday, including women and children, in Helmand Province.

    Karzai said his demand for NATO to stop airstrikes that kill Afghan civilians is his "last warning." But he would not clarify what actions the Kabul government would take if the bombings continue.

    He said he would be bringing up the issue when he next meets with NATO commanders.

    In the past, the Afghan president has made sweeping statements condemning NATO forces and banning certain practices, such as night raids on Afghan homes, only to later allow the practices to continue.

    But speaking with reporters in Kabul, Karzai said the Afghan people can no longer tolerate airstrikes that target Afghan homes.

    “Afghanistan is an ally, not an occupied country. And our treatment with NATO is from the point of view of an ally. If it turns to the other, to the behavior of an occupation then of course the Afghan people know how to deal with that,” he said.

    After 10 years of war, civilian deaths caused by international forces have become a bitter issue among locals for whom tribal honor codes demand revenge or compensation.

    NATO officials say they never conduct airstrikes without some coordination with Afghan authorities. They also say militants routinely hide in civilian areas and use innocent bystanders as human shields when fighting.  

    On Saturday, U.S. Marines called in airstrikes during a firefight in Helmand Province, in southern Afghanistan. NATO officials later apologized for killing what they said were nine civilians in the attack. They said the operation was aimed at insurgents who earlier had attacked a U.S. patrol, killing one Marine.

    A spokeswoman for the International Security Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Regina Winchester said NATO forces have clear rules of engagement intended to minimize such events.

    “We have very specific guidelines and rules of engagement on how we interact and how we conduct operations, especially in populated areas," said Winchester. "One of our primary lines of operations here is to protect the populace and that’s not just from the insurgents, but also from any possible civilian casualties as the outcome of our own operations.”

    U.S. and NATO troops are in Afghanistan under a U.N. mandate that is due to expire in October. U.S. officials are still in negotiations on what the status of foreign troops will be after that date.

    Karzai has said that he will put strict controls on the conduct of international forces in any agreement.

    NATO officials in Afghanistan say they regularly review their tactics in an effort to limit civilian casualties. A spokesman for NATO forces says there will be a new inquiry following Karzai’s statements.

    Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora