NATO-led ISAF soldiers in Afghanistan in August (epa)
October 30, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch (HRW) today called on NATO forces to take greater precautions to protect Afghan civilians and establish a program to compensate those who suffer from their actions.
The group said in a statement that NATO's tactics in Afghanistan "are increasingly endangering the civilians that they are supposed to be protecting, and turning the local population against them."
Afghan officials claim dozens of civilians died last week in NATO strikes on militant targets in southern Kandahar Province. The alliance has admitted to the deaths of 12 residents and said it regrets the loss of civilian life.
While taking note of NATO's regrets, HRW said the alliance "won't win the trust of Afghans by showing disregard for civilians' lives and property."
The group urged NATO to "reconsider the use of highly destructive but hard-to-target weaponry in areas where there is a clear risk of considerable civilian casualties."