Relations between Afghanistan and US-led forces have worsened still further, with official confirmation that 90 civilians died last week in a coalition air strike. The US military initially denied any knowledge of civilian deaths in what officers said was an attack on a Taliban commander which killed 30 militants.
But a United Nations inquiry has found convincing evidence that the victims in the western region of Shindand included ordinary people, among them 60 children and 15 women.
The rising violence is driving a wedge between Kabul and the international security forces. Friday’s attack prompted the government to order curbs on the way foreign forces operate in Afghanistan, including a ban on attacks on civilian targets.
President Karzai’s spokesman said the patience of the Afghan people is running out. The President himself said earlier this month that air strikes achieved nothing but the deaths of innocent people.