Karzai condemns US strike on civilians

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has condemned a US-led coalition forces’ airstrike that killed at least 90 civilians last month.

“I have been working day and night in the past five years to prevent such incidents, but I haven’t been successful in my efforts,” Karzai said on Thursday.

“If I had succeeded, the people of Azizabad wouldn’t be bathed in blood,” he told the victims’ families and other villagers in the Shindan district.

On Aug. 22, US-led forces killed more than 90 people, mostly women and children in western Herat’s Shindan district according to reports supported by United Nations investigators on the ground.

However, the US military disputes the figure, saying its inquiry found five to seven civilians were killed in the operation carried out with the Afghan army.

The Afghan president also promised local elders to bring those responsible to justice.

Following the attack, Karzai ordered a review to examine whether the US and NATO should be allowed to carry out airstrikes or raids in villages.

Some 698 Afghan civilians died in violent incidents in the first half of 2008, of which 255 were killed by Afghan government or international military forces, according to UN figures.

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