Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked international troops deployed in Afghanistan to show more respect for the country's culture, and to change the way they deal with Afghan civilians.

Mr. Karzai says U.S. and NATO-led troops should to do more to protect civilians during air strikes and raids. He also says foreign troops should not search Afghan homes unless they are working with Afghan security forces.

During a speech on Thursday, the Afghan leader also pledged to crack down on corruption in his government. President Karzai has faced both domestic and international criticism for failing to root out graft in his administration.

Also on Thursday, the Afghan parliament fired the country's commerce minister for failing to control the high price of fuel on the domestic market.

All but one of the 128 lawmakers present voted to oust Mohammad Amin Farhang, accusing him of corruption and incompetence. They complained that fuel prices have remained high in Afghanistan even though international oil prices have dropped dramatically.

In other news, President Karzai has selected Afghan-Canadian Tooryalai Wesa to serve as the next governor of Kandahar province.  The southern province is viewed as the country's most dangerous, with Taliban insurgents active in the region.

Wesa replaces outgoing governor Rahmatullah Raufi, who was fired from the post after less than four months on the job.

Wesa is an agriculture specialist at the University of British Columbia in Canada.  He was born in Afghanistan and has worked as a consultant in the country.

And first lady Laura Bush has urged members of the U.S.-Afghan Women's Council to continue their efforts to mentor and lend financial, emotional and educational support to women in Afghanistan.  Mrs. Bush, who served for several years as honorary chairwoman of the council, thanked the group for their work during a videoconference on Thursday.

Some information for this report was provided byAP.