Karzai summons US envoy over civilian deaths

Afghan president calls US ambassador and NATO chief over claims of increasing civilian deaths from Western air strikes.

    Karzai summons US envoy over civilian deaths
    Cocker, middle, and Allen, left, were summoned by Karzai over a series of NATO strikes that have allegedly killed dozens of Afghan civilians since Sunday [AFP]

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has summoned the US ambassador and NATO's chief in Aghanistan over a series of attacks by NATO forces that have allegedly taken a large death toll on civilians.

    Karzai called John Allen, commander of NATO forces in the country, and Ryan Crocker, the US envoy, to the presidential palace on Monday to discuss what he said were dozens of civilian deaths and injuries caused by air strikes by the foreign forces in four provinces since Sunday evening.

    Officials who spoke with Al Jazeera on Monday said at least 14 of those killed by an overnight NATO air strike were in Badghis province. An additional six civilians were injured in the attack in the province's district of Balamurghab.

    In a statement released on Monday, Karzai said that the strategic pact sealed by Barack Obama, the US president, last week was at risk of being "meaningless" if Afghans do not feel safe.

    "Karzai signed the strategic pact with the United States to avoid such incidents (civilian casualties) and if Afghans do not feel safe, the strategic partnership loses its meaning," it said.

    Elsewhere in Afghanistan on Monday, NATO said in a statement that a bomb had killed three of its service members in eastern Afghanistan.

    The statement did not provide details about the attack or the nationality of the service members killed. NATO usually waits for member nations to provide details about troop deaths.

    So far this year, 142 coalition members have died in Afghanistan.

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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