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Karzai Condemns Civilian Deaths In NATO Operations

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (file photo) (epa) KABUL, June 23, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned "indiscriminate and unprecise" operations by NATO and U.S.-led forces that have killed some 90 civilians in just over a week.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports that Karzai announced in Kabul today that military operations that cause civilian casualties are "no longer tolerated."

Karzai's comments come after some 25 Afghan civilians were killed on June 21 in a NATO air strike in southern Helmand Province.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said after the incident that any civilian casualties in NATO air strikes in Afghanistan are "a mistake."

Reporting from Helmand, RFE/RL correspondent Salihmohamad Sali said the air strike had targeted a group of homes in the Gereshk district, where Taliban fighters were firing on foreign and Afghan forces. Some 20 militants were also killed.

Meanwhile, NATO said some 80 insurgents were killed in two battles in Afghanistan on June 22.

The alliance said 60 suspected Taliban were killed by artillery and air strikes as they prepared to attack targets in the Bermel district of Paktika Province, near the Pakistan border.

Separately, NATO said Afghan and coalition soldiers killed nearly 20 militants in southern Kandahar Province.

And some 20 Taliban militants were captured early today in the Giro district of southern Ghazni Province, a NATO spokesman told RFE/RL.

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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