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Obama regrets civilian deaths in Afghanistan: Kabul

Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 15:32

Kabul: President Barack Obama expressed
"deep regret" to President Hamid Karzai over recent civilian
deaths in military operations in Afghanistan during a call,
Karzai`s office said on Thursday.
Today, the US commander of international troops in
Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, said he was "deeply
sorry" after nine civilians died in a coalition air strike in
Kunar province, northeast Afghanistan, yesterday.

Karzai says those who died were nine young children
out collecting firewood and has warned that international
troops in Afghanistan face "huge problems" if the "daily
killing of innocent civilians" does not stop.

The Afghan president discussed the deaths with his US
counterpart in a call today, his office said in a statement,
and told him that "increasing civilian casualties" posed a
"serious problem."
Karzai has previously argued that such incidents can
drain support away from his administration and towards the

Obama "expressed deep regret over recent civilian
casualties and said he has ordered his military officials to
take the necessary initiatives to bring a reduction and end to
civilian casualties," the statement said.

The US embassy in Kabul did not immediately comment on
the call.

The deaths of ordinary Afghans in foreign military
operations against the Taliban have been high on the political
agenda in Kabul recently, highlighting tensions between Karzai
and the West before a planned limited withdrawal of foreign
troops from July.

The Afghan police and army are due to take control of
security in the country in 2014, allowing most international
troops in Afghanistan, which currently number 140,000, to


First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 15:32

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