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Afghan president warns NATO against airstrikes that kill civilians

By the CNN Wire Staff
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the international community has turned the war against terrorism into political objectives.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the international community has turned the war against terrorism into political objectives.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hamid Karzai says attacks by international forces on Afghan houses will not be tolerated
  • Afghan officials say a Saturday attack in Helmand province killed 14 civilians
  • A NATO military leader apologizes for the attack, which he says killed nine civilians
RELATED TOPICS
  • Afghanistan
  • Hamid Karzai
  • NATO

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned Tuesday that any future NATO airstrikes that kill civilians will be considered attacks against the Afghan people.

The statement came three days after an airstrike killed 14 civilians in southern Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials.

"This is my last warning to the NATO forces: No more attacks on the homes of Afghans will be allowed," Karzai told reporters.

"If they continue such operations to kill civilians, international forces will change to a force who is not fighting against terrorists but fighting against Afghan people."

Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, joined two other generals in offering "sincere apologies" Monday for the airstrike that killed nine civilians in Helmand province. There was no immediate explanation for the disparity between this figure and Karzai's account of 14 killed: 10 children, two women and two men.

Maj. Gen. John Toolan, head of NATO's International Security Assistance Force command in southwest Afghanistan, pleaded with Afghans to not only forgive, but to also work with coalition forces in hopes of bolstering their security.

"I offer our heartfelt apologies to the families and friends of those killed," Toolan said in a statement. "I ask that the Afghan people continue to trust and assist their security forces, so that together we can stop the senseless killing brought upon us by an enemy who wants to exploit the Afghan people through fear and violence."

Karzai said Tuesday that the international community has turned the war against terrorism into political objectives.

"They seek their own interest and played politics," Karzai said. "... If they were fighting against terrorism as the Afghans were honestly advising them, if they were focusing (on) the terrorism sanctuaries ... this war would have been more successful."

 
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