Afghan president demands end to US air raids

Afghan president demands end to US air raids

attekAfghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has once again called on the US-led coalition forces to end air strikes on residential areas and urged the US to take necessary steps for ensuring durable peace and security in the country.

The president issued a statement in this regard Sunday night in the wake of the reported deaths of a dozen civilians in Siagurd district of Parwan province during air strikes a couple of days ago, Xinhua reported.

According to a fact-finding team headed by legislator Abdul Sattar Khawasi, 12 civilians, including five children and three women, were killed and four others sustained injuries in US air strikes at Wazghar village in Siagurd district in Parwan province last week.

Presiding over the meeting of the National Security Council Sunday, the president, according to the statement, said that ‚Äútargeting residential houses by the air power of the coalition forces” was a matter of serious concern for the Afghans and must be stopped.

Meanwhile, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement released Sunday rejected the claim, saying 14 militants were killed in the raid.

“According to operational reports, at least 14 insurgents were killed. Tragically, civilians inside a building from which insurgents were firing on the commandos were killed,” the ISAF statement said.

Another statement released by the Presidential Palace Sunday evening said President Karzai strongly condemned the recent killing of 12 civilians in Parwan province and the terror attack in Kabul Friday that killed 21 people in a city restaurant.

President Karzai, while condemning the killing of civilians, categorically noted that the US could no longer carry out military operations or air strikes and must start peace talks with the Taliban before his government signed a security accord to keep American forces after the 2014 pullout of coalition forces from Afghanistan, the statement further said.

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