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Karzai govt demands review of foreign troops

Afghanistan's government demanded a review of the presence of US and NATO troops in the country and their use of airstrikes in civilian areas, following allegations that many civilians died in raids and airstrikes by foreign forces.

world Updated: Aug 26, 2008 14:01 IST

Afghanistan's government demanded a review of the presence of US and NATO troops in the country and their use of airstrikes in civilian areas, following allegations that many civilians died in raids and airstrikes by foreign forces in recent weeks.

In a harshly worded statement, President Hamid Karzai's government ordered its ministries of foreign affairs and defence to review the presence of foreign troops, regulate their presence with a status of forces agreement and negotiate a possible end to "airstrikes on civilian targets, uncoordinated house searches and illegal detention of Afghan civilians."

The statement released late on Monday appears to be aimed at both international forces operating in Afghanistan: the US-led coalition, which conducts special forces counter-terrorism operations and trains the fledgling Afghan army and police, and the UN-mandated NATO-led force tasked to provide security for the war-ravaged nation.

Capt. Mike Windsor, a spokesman for the NATO-led force, said the force had seen media reports about the government's decision but had not received "any official notification so far."

He pointed out that NATO's "mission is based on a UN mandate and carried upon the invitation of the Afghan government."

There was no immediate comment from the US-led coalition. The government's decision follows a weekend clash and airstrikes in western Afghanistan where Afghan officials say some 90 civilians, including women and children, were killed