From The Guardian:
Tensions increased today between Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, and US and Nato troops, with the government ordering a review of foreign military activities amid claims that dozens of civilians have died in raids and air strikes over the past week.
The ministries of foreign affairs and defence said they would seek to regulate raids with a status of forces agreement and a negotiated end to “air strikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians”.
The UN mission in Afghanistan has backed the government. Afghan and foreign soldiers entered the village of Nawabad in Shindand district last Friday and called in air strikes, villagers told UN investigators.
The UN special envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said in a statement that an investigation “found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men. Fifteen other villagers were wounded.
“The destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with seven to eight houses having been destroyed, with serious damage to many others,” Eide said. “Local residents were able to confirm the number of casualties, including names, age and gender of the victims.
“This is matter of grave concern to the United Nations. I have repeatedly made clear that the safety and welfare of civilians must be considered above all else during the planning and conduct of all military operations.
“The impact of such operations undermines the trust and confidence of the Afghan people in efforts to build a just, peaceful and law-abiding state.”
The US military has launched an investigation after saying it was unaware of any civilians killed. An American spokesman said the strike targeted a known Taliban commander and killed 30 militants.
Captain Mike Windsor, a spokesman for Nato, said the force had not received any official notification about the government decision. He said Nato’s mission was based on a UN mandate and carried out at the invitation of the Afghan government.
In an angry statement, the government said officials had “repeatedly discussed the issue of civilian casualties with the international forces and asked for all air raids on civilian targets, especially in Afghan villages, to be stopped”.
“The issues of uncoordinated house searches and harassing civilians have also been of concern to the government of Afghanistan, which has been shared with the commanders of international forces in Afghanistan,” it said.
“Unfortunately, to date, our demands have not been addressed. Rather, more civilians, including women and children, are losing their lives as a result of air raids.”