President Hamid Karzai has appealed for an end to all civilian casualties caused by military raids on Afghan villages.
He was speaking on the last day of the Munich security conference where NATO’s Secretary General urged Afghanistan’s neighbouring powers to get involved in the country’s reconstruction.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “India has a stake in Afghan stability. China too. And both could help further develop and rebuild Afghanistan. The same goes for Russia. Basically, Russia shares our security concerns. If Afghanistan once again becomes a safe haven for terrorists, they could easily spread through central Asia to Russia.”
The Afghan president told delegates his country is on course to accept responsibility for its own security. He said: “By five years, Afghanistan should be able to provide security for its own people, so we are no longer a burden on the shoulders of the international community and the partners that are there with us today.”
Meanwhile, Afghan citizens are fleeing Marjah in Helmand province ahead of a major ground operation by NATO forces.
Militants are said by refugees to be digging in for a fight-to-the-death in the Taliban stronghold.