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NATO force says it must improve

world Updated: Jun 24, 2007 13:50 IST

AFP
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The NATO force in Afghanistan said on Sunday President Hamid Karzai was right to be angry about civilian casualties in its military operations, and it needed to improve the way it worked.

Karzai on Saturday accused the NATO- and US-led militaries here of "indiscriminate and unprecise" operations, extreme use of force and not coordinating their actions with the government.

"I feel that president Karzai is right, he has reason to be upset," said Nicholas Lunt, civilian spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force. "We have to improve the way we are operating," he told AFP.

"But let's make clear that no ISAF soldier intends to kill civilians. That's not the case with Taliban. They deliberately kill civilians."
The US-led coalition would not comment.

Most civilian casualties in Afghanistan are caused by insurgent attacks, with the Taliban relying on suicide and roadside bombings.

But ordinary people are also killed in military action against the militants who are accused of using civilians as "human shields" by attacking troops from civilian homes.

Karzai said foreign forces' action had resulted in the killing of about 90 civilians in the past 10 days.

A group of nongovernment groups said last week its figures showed nearly 250 were killed by Afghan and foreign troops since the beginning of the year.

ISAF admitted on Sunday that civilians in Pakistan were killed during action Saturday against a group of militants spotted near the border.

The dead were a child, a woman and seven men, the Pakistan military said.