U.S. to heed Karzai's order on airstrikes
KABUL, Afghanistan — The commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said Sunday that his forces were prepared to comply with President Hamid Karzai's demand that Afghan forces stop requesting international airstrikes in residential areas.
Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. downplayed the impact of Karzai's directive, even though Afghanistan's fledgling security forces rely entirely on U.S. and NATO warplanes for air power against Taliban-led insurgents.
“We can continue to support the Afghan National Security Forces and meet the president's intent,” Dunford said.
On Saturday, in a speech at the Afghan National Military Academy, Karzai denounced an Afghan-NATO attack last week that local officials said killed 10 civilians, in addition to four Taliban commanders in eastern Kunar province.
The Afghan leader said he would issue a decree that “no Afghan military and security forces in any circumstances can ask for the foreigners' planes for carrying out operations in Afghanistan's homes and villages.”
The remarks represented the latest broadside by Karzai against the coalition that has trained, equipped and financed the force of 350,000 soldiers and police who are due to take responsibility for Afghanistan's security later this year.
Civilian casualties have long been a point of contention between Karzai and the coalition, although NATO forces in recent months have implemented rules limiting airstrikes in populated areas. U.S. officials say that civilian casualties in coalition operations fell 49 percent from 2011 to 2012 and that the number of children killed or wounded in air operations fell nearly 40 percent.
“We have constraints and restraints on each operation” to minimize civilian casualties, Dunford said.
Last week, Karzai summoned Dunford to explain the Kunar attack. The coalition has declined to discuss the incident, saying only that it was investigating the reports of civilian deaths.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
- Suspect in Tunisian museum attack killed
- Germanwings flight co-pilot Lubitz worried about job security, officials say
- Siberian theater director fired over Wagner opera
- Air Canada plane skids off Halifax runway in hard landing
- Impasse remains in Iran nuke talks
- Dickens’ desk to go on permanent display museum
- Nigerians vote despite violence, technical hitches
- Russians blame Western sanctions for recession fed by oil price drop
- Alone at controls, Germanwings co-pilot sought to ‘destroy’ the plane
- Terror strikes Somalia hotel