This content is not available in your region

Kabul protest against Afghan civilian casualties

Kabul protest against Afghan civilian casualties
Text size Aa Aa

Hundreds of people have demonstrated in the Afghan capital Kabul, demanding an end to NATO-inflicted civilian casualties.

President Karzai has described as “inadequate” a rare apology by the commander of US and NATO forces for an air strike that killed nine children last week.

A spate of civilian deaths has increased resentment towards coalition forces.

“American forces are killing our innocent people and after killing them, they apologise for it. We do not want (the apology), we want justice in our country,” said one young woman demonstrator called Yalda.

The anger follows four recent cases in the east where foreign troops have been responsible for civilian deaths.

The apology was made by the commander of US and NATO forces, General David Petraeus, after two helicopters gunned down nine boys as they collected firewood.

It was repeated in a video message by Deputy US Commander, Lieutenant General David Rodriguez:

“We have made a terrible mistake. These incidents are rare, particularly when compared to all the operations we conduct, we are army and police partners, but we take each civilian injury or death very seriously.

Crews are now to be re-briefed on the rules of engagement, which have been tightened over the past two years.

Afghan politicians have warned that more air raids could hamper the fight against the Taliban.

A UN report last year found that civilian casualties in Afghanistan rose 20 percent in a 12-month period, with more than three-quarters being caused by insurgents.