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 American air-strike kills 18 civilians

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Psikyo Fox
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PostSubject: American air-strike kills 18 civilians    Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:43 am

The Afghan president’s office said the
security accord with the US is at risk
after Wednesday’s airstrike that killed 18
villagers. The pact is a key part of the
withdrawal plan for the NATO-led
coalition from the country.
The raid, in the eastern province of
Logar, saw a supposedly joint Afghan-
coalition force surround a village where a
Taliban leader was holed up. In the
ensuing firefight, the Americans called
an air strike, which killed 18 people,
including 5 women and 7 children, who’d
gathered for a wedding celebration.
Following an Afghan investigation into
the event, President Karzai’s office
blamed US commanders on Saturday for
taking a unilateral decision to bomb the
village. "The Americans didn’t wait for
the Afghans to try and flush out the
militants and unilaterally called for a
strike," presidential spokesman Aimal
Faizi said.
Kabul believes the act violated the terms
of a strategic security pact between
Afghanistan and the US, which was
signed in the spring. The agreement
sets a roadmap for handing over
responsibility for security in the country
to the Afghan side. Particularly, it sets
the Afghan government in charge of
special operations like the one in Logar.
The Logar incident was the fifth time
civilian casualties were caused by
unilateral US actions since the pact was
signed, Faizi said. He added President
Karzai and his advisers decided that, if
another unapproved airstrike occurs, the
Afghan government will have to consider
that the US troops part of an
"occupation".
NATO disagrees with Kabul’s
assessment of the situation, saying the
Afghans approved the larger Logar
operation as a whole.
Karzai met with the US commander in
Afghanistan, General John Allen, who
earlier on Friday apologised for the
Logan civilian killings. In a separate
statement following the meeting the
presidential office said the American
general promised Karzai that there
would no longer be any airstrikes
against Afghan villages.
A spokesman for the US forces declined
to confirm the statement, saying that the
US is “reviewing tactical directives and
procedures” following the incident.
As the wrangling continued, five NATO
troops were killed in Afghanistan in two
unrelated bombing incidents. French
forces suffered four fatalities in a suicide
attack in the Kapisa province, while one
soldier was killed in the country’s east. A
total of 189 international troops have
been killed in Afghanistan since the start
of the year.
The row came as the NATO coalition
prepares to pullout of Afghanistan,
which should be completed by the end of
2014. As the deadline gets closer,
Afghan security forces will assume
combat operations, with foreign troops
involved only in logistics and training.
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