News / Asia

NATO Secretary-General Expresses Regret for Civilian Afghan Casualties

Meredith Buel

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has expressed regret over a NATO air strike that Afghan authorities say killed 27 civilians in Afghanistan

Speaking to a forum at Georgetown University here in Washington, Rasmussen said he telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to apologize for the air strike in southern Afghanistan.

"Of course, there will be bad days when we cause unintended civilian casualties," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "I just spoke to President Karzai and expressed my deep regrets and condolences for the latest incidents where Afghan civilians have lost their lives."

NATO says its planes fired on what was thought to be a group of insurgents in Uruzgan province.

The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, expressed regret for the civilian deaths and pledged to cooperate with a joint investigation.

In recent months, NATO has limited air strikes and tightened rules of engagement on the battlefield to protect Afghan civilians and win their loyalty from the Taliban.

During his remarks, the NATO secretary-general said such deaths have declined in recent months.

Rasmussen said that based on statistics compiled by the United Nations, the Taliban are responsible for most civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

"A huge majority of civilian casualties are caused by the Taliban and we also know that the Taliban use, or misuse, women and children - innocent civilians - as a human shield on roofs, in windows, and otherwise," he said. "So they do not care."

Uruzgan is northeast of Helmand province, where NATO and Afghan forces are engaged in a major offensive against Taliban insurgents in Marja.

As soon as the area is secure, NATO says it plans to rush in a civilian administration, restore public services and pour in aid.

The effort is seen as a key test of U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy for reversing the rise of the Taliban, while protecting the civilian population.

NATO's Anders Fogh Rasmussen says he believes the new plan is already having a positive impact.

"I believe that these new forces and our new approach are already having an effect on the ground," said Rasmussen. "There is new momentum.  I am confident that this year we will be able to start transferring security responsibilities to the Afghans themselves."

Rasmussen says the main lesson learned so far from the war in Afghanistan is that there is no military solution to such conflicts.

He says providing good governance, civilian reconstruction and humanitarian assistance are the keys to long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan.  

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs