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Karzai to Ban Afghan Forces from Requesting Airstrikes

Afghan President Hamid Karzai addesses military officers in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 16, 2013.
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai says Afghan security forces will be banned from asking NATO forces to carry out airstrikes on residential areas.

In an address to officers at a military academy in Kabul, Karzai said he will issue a decree on Sunday stating that under no circumstances can Afghan forces request airstrikes on homes or villages.

His announcement was in apparent reference to a NATO airstrike that killed 10 people, including women and children, in Kunar province on Wednesday. Afghan forces requested the airstrike during a joint Afghan-U.S. operation targeting Taliban fighters in the region.

At least three Taliban militants with links to al-Qaida died in the raid.

Civilian casualties have been a major source of friction between Afghanistan and the U.S.-led international coalition during the 11-year war in the country. Mr. Karzai regularly condemns the killing of civilians.