Saturday, June 23, 2007

Karzai Slams NATO

He's had it. With every civilian bombed or shelled into oblivion by NATO air strikes and artillery, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's government gets further undermined. Now, he says, NATO has killed up to 90-Afghan civilians in just the past ten days.

Karzai told reporters about the deaths of 52-Afghans in a NATO artillery barrage:

"In Chora, NATO, coalition forces fired artillery on Chora from Tirin Kot in which according to our latest information ... 52 of our countrymen were martyred," Karzai said, speaking at his palace in the capital.

The president also referred to strikes by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the southern province of Helmand early Friday that police said killed 25 people, including nine women and three young children.

The president said his repeated calls on the ISAF and US-led coalition to coordinate their operations with Afghan security forces to avoid hurting civilians had gone unheeded."From now onwards they have to work the way we ask them to work here. That's the line," he said.

This was happening because of "the extreme use of force, the disproportionate use of force to a situation and the lack of coordination with the Afghan government," Karzai said."You don't fight a terrorist by firing a field gun 37 kilometres (23 miles) away into a target. That's definitely, surely bound to cause civilian casualties," he said.

"...Afghan life is not cheap and it should not be treated as such," he said, reflecting a feeling among many ordinary Afghans who find the foreign forces arrogant and culturally insensitive.


Red Tory said...

"Culturally insensitive" is a rather interesting way to describe blowing someone to smithereens.

The Mound of Sound said...

You're right RT but this whole business is becoming increasingly bizarre by the day. There is simply no getting around the reality that NATO has gone into Afghanistan "on the cheap" with a force a fraction of the size necessary. That means, among other things, that our people can't secure the villages which, in turn, leaves the locals vulnerable to the insurgents. The Taliban then fight out of those villages, inviting NATO to bomb the hell out of the civilians. We have such small numbers that we're reduced to over-reliance on air strikes and artillery barrages against residential areas. It's a formula for disaster and not one NATO nation is suggesting we send an appropriate force. The whole sorry business is sickening.