News / USA

US Commander Says Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan Undermine Military Mission

The commander of U.S. military forces in the Middle East and Central Asia says civilian casualties in Afghanistan undermine the American and NATO mission there.  General David Petraeus made the comments before an audience in Washington.

General Petraeus' remarks came the day after NATO troops opened fire on a bus in southern Afghanistan, killing four civilians and sparking angry anti-American protests.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the killings, saying shooting at a civilian bus violates NATO's commitment to safeguard civilian life.

Without referring to the latest deaths, General Petraeus said such killings undercut the military's mission in Afghanistan. "You cannot achieve your strategic goals, your strategic objectives, if tactical activities result in the loss of innocent civilian life.  It undermines all that you are trying to do," he said.

NATO has expressed deep regret over the latest civilian deaths and a combined NATO-Afghan team is investigating.

The top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal, has made reducing civilian deaths a major priority as part of the effort to win the loyalty of the Afghan people.

General Petraeus spoke just hours after returning from a trip to Afghanistan and discussed ongoing efforts to reintegrate Taliban insurgents into civilian life. "That particular term means the very high level discussions with Taliban leadership in Afghanistan, there may come a time what that will be productive, in the near term it is more likely that reintegration, the lower and mid-level Taliban, reconciliation is more effective," he said.

President Obama has ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan and Petraeus says about 14,000 have arrived and most of the rest will be on the ground by the end of August.

Petraeus also reiterated concern about the lack of progress in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, saying this continues to have a negative impact in the Middle East. "Our view that the lack of progress towards a comprehensive Mideast peace is indeed something that does very much shape the environment…because what it does is it gives the radicals, the extremists an argument that the only time that they have made progress on that issue is when there has been say an intifada or some violent response," he said.

In Iraq, General Petraeus says his forces are on target to reduce their presence from the current level of 96,000 to 50,000 by the end of August.  

Petraeus says despite recent deadly bombings in Iraq, violence is substantially down from previous levels.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid