Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Afghans Protest Civilian Casualites, Say Apology ‘Not Enough’

by Shah Marai, CommonDreams.og, March 6, 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday told US General David Petraeus, the commander of international troops, that his apology after nine children died in a NATO air strike was “not enough”.

Afghan protestors hold a placard during a demonstration in Kabul on Sunday. A roadside bomb ripped through a car in eastern Afghanistan, killing 12 civilians, as hundreds of people protested angrily in Kabul over the deaths of nine children in a NATO air raid. (AFP/Shah Marai)

Hundreds of angry demonstrators also rallied in central Kabul over the deaths in an air raid by coalition helicopters in the eastern province of Kunar on Tuesday.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the children — who were collecting firewood in the province’s Dar-e-Pech district when they were killed — were mistaken for rebels.

Petraeus and US President Barack Obama both apologised.
The Western-backed Karzai, who has shaky relations with Washington, had already condemned the deaths, but on Sunday addressed Petraeus directly at a cabinet meeting at which the US general was present.

“President Karzai said that David Petraeus’s apology is not enough,” a statement from the Afghan presidency said.

“The civilian casualties are a main cause of worsening the relationship between Afghanistan and the US,” the statement quoted Karzai as saying.
“The people are tired of these things and apologies and condemnations are not healing any pain.

“On behalf of the people of Afghanistan I want you to stop the killings of civilians.”

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