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Karzai: No Military Offensive in Kandahar Without Local Support

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says there will be no anti-Taliban military operation in the southern city of Kandahar without the support of local tribal leaders.

Mr. Karzai traveled to Kandahar Sunday to make a public appeal for support from about 1,500 elders at a traditional council meeting, known as "shura."

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, sat on the stage during the meeting but did not speak.

Both Afghan and U.S. commanders have emphasized the need for civilian support in any offensives against the Taliban.

Coalition forces are expected to a launch a major campaign against the Taliban in Kandahar by June.

As Mr. Karzai was appealing for public support, the NATO-led force in Afghanistan confirmed that its troops were responsible for the death of five civilians, including three women, during a botched raid on a home in eastern Paktia province.

A NATO statement said that on February 12, a joint Afghan-NATO patrol searching for insurgents fired on two men believed to be militants. The three women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men.

In violence Sunday, NATO said one of its soldiers was killed in a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.