Karzai Demands End to U.S. Air Strikes
Record toll of Farah Attack renews outrage over bombing villages.
Ending his visit to the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the United States end its air strikes in his country, saying that the rising death toll was infuriating the public. “We believe strongly that airstrikes are not an effective way of fighting terrorism, that airstrikes rather cause civilian casualties,” Karzai declared.
Karzai has long been at odds, first with the Bush Administration and now with the Obama Administraiton, about the policy of air strikes launched in Afghanistan. >>>
UPDATE1: We demand an end to ALL airstrikes! (h/t: C-SPAN Junkie – 8:30):
Pentagon officials believe that about 12 civilians were killed in U.S. airstrikes this week in Afghanistan, far fewer than numbers cited by Afghan provincial officials and the Red Cross.
Provincial officials said as many as 147 people were killed in fighting between insurgents and Afghan soldiers backed by U.S. forces. The International Committee of the Red Cross also has said there was a high civilian death toll.
Officials of the U.S.-led military command planned a news conference in Afghanistan today to discuss the incident.
The airstrikes on Monday, in the western province of Farah, were requested by Afghan army and police forces in the midst of battle against Taliban fighters and also killed an estimated 30 militants, Pentagon officials said.
A senior U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Friday that American officials believed the civilian toll was grossly exaggerated as part of a public relations war. >>>
- U.S. Military Officials Concede Killing Scores of Civilians in Afghan Strike (8 May 09)
- After U.S. Strikes, Afghans Describe ‘Tractor Trailers Full of Pieces of Human Bodies’ (7 May 09)
- Afghans Protest Days After U.S. Air Raid Kills More Than 100 Civilians (7 May 09)