Afghanistan calls for end to Nato air strikes on villagers
Hamid Karzai's government has asked Nato to stop bombing civilian "targets" and has ordered a review of the rights (i.e. the right to bomb villages or the right to search houses) afforded to foreign troops in Afghanistan. Karzai's request, which the UN has backed, comes after a week when at least 76 civilians, mostly children, were killed during an airstrike led by US-led coalition forces. The US military says it is unaware of any civilians killed.
Tensions increased today between Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, and US and Nato troops, with the government ordering a review of foreign military activities amid claims that dozens of civilians have died in raids and air strikes over the past week.
The ministries of foreign affairs and defence said they would seek to regulate raids with a status of forces agreement and a negotiated end to "air strikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians".
The UN mission in Afghanistan has backed the government. Afghan and foreign soldiers entered the village of Nawabad in Shindand district last Friday and called in air strikes, villagers told UN investigators.
The UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said in a statement that an investigation "found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men. Fifteen other villagers were wounded. "The destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with seven to eight houses having been destroyed, with serious damage to many others," Eide said. "Local residents were able to confirm the number of casualties, including names, age and gender of the victims.