Karzai Will Forbid Afghan Forces From Requesting Foreign Airstrikes

President Hamid Karzai plans to forbid his military forces from requesting foreign airstrikes. The promise comes after NATO forces killed 10 civilians in an airstrike last week.

The Afghan president plans to issue a decree forbidding the country’s forces from asking NATO or American forces to conduct airstrikes in the country.

He also condemned the use of torture by his security forces on detainees, reports The New York Times. Last week’s airstrike was conducted in Kunar Province in eastern Afghanistan. The attack killed four women, one man, and fire children, all of whom were civilians.

Also killed in the strike were three militant fighters. Karzai also stated during a speech at the Afghan National Military Academy in Kabul that the airstrike was requested by the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence service. He added:

“Our N.D.S. in their own country calls foreigners to assist them and bombard four or five Al Qaeda or Taliban. It is very regrettable to hear this. You are representing Afghan pride. How do you call for an airstrike from foreigners on your people?”

The news of the NDS’s involvement came after NATO launched an investigation into the airstrike, notes The Washington Post. General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new commander of US and international forces in the country, then met with Karzai to discuss the report’s findings.

Afghanistan has a minimal air force, which is likely why NATO forces were called in to carry out the airstrike. Former Afghan general Amrullah Aman was surprised to hear Karzai’s remarks. He stated:

“In a country like Afghanistan, where you don’t have heavy artillery and you don’t have air forces to support soldiers on the ground … there must be air support to help all those ground forces on the battlefield.”

Along with Karzai’s announcement that he will forbid Afghan forces from requesting foreign airstrikes, Western troops are working to accelerate their withdrawal from the country, partially in response to Karzai’s insistence.

[Image by Harald Dettenborn [CC-BY-3.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons]