End operations in Afghanistan, Karzai tells NATO

Afghan Prez urged international troops to "stop their operations in our land", in a row over mistaken civilian killings.

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 19:20 PM IST

Asadabad: Emotional Afghan
President Hamid Karzai on Saturday urged international troops to
"stop their operations in our land", his strongest salvo yet
in a row over mistaken civilian killings.

Karzai`s comments came after a week in which a
relative of his was killed in a raid by foreign forces and he
rejected an apology by the US commander of troops General
David Petraeus for the deaths of nine children in a NATO
strike.

"I would like to ask NATO and the US with honour and
humbleness and not with arrogance to stop their operations in
our land," Karzai said, visiting the dead children`s relatives
in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan.

"We are very tolerant people but now our tolerance has
run out."

He added that Kabul and his Western backers in the war
against the Taliban were well aware that Pakistan`s border
areas, where insurgents have hideouts, ought to be the focus
of international military campaigns.

Karzai also met relatives of those caught up in
another incident in Kunar in which Afghan officials say 65
people died but NATO`s International Security Assistance Force
(ISAF) says left up to nine people injured.

The president cried as he held a girl who he said had
her leg amputated following the latter attack.

A spokeswoman for ISAF could not immediately comment.

The latest Kunar incident, which happened as the
children gathered firewood, forced the always-sensitive issue
of civilian casualties caused by international troops back to
the top of the political agenda in Afghanistan.

Karzai had already angrily rejected a public apology
from Petraeus, the US commander of foreign troops, over the
deaths.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates also said he was
sorry personally to Karzai during a visit to Afghanistan
Monday.

PTI