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Afghan gov't holds Petraeus to account over deaths by NATO strikes

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Kabul, Feb 23, IRNA -- Afghan government spokesman Vahid Omar on Wednesday vehemently criticized the way the US Gen. David Petraeus reacted to the Afghan officials' outcry over the 64 civilian deaths in Kunar by the US-led NATO air strikes.

Omar told reporters that the US reaction to the Afghan government's concern about the civilian casualties in Kunar air strikes is 'callous, racist and affront to the Afghan nation'.

IRNA reporter in Kabul said that tension is rising between US and Afghan officials after reports that 64 Afghan civilians including women and children were killed in Kunar by NATO air strikes last week.

The Afghan officials have cited the Washington Post report on Tuesday that US Gen. Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan and head of Afghanistan’s International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, suggested Sunday in a closed meeting at the presidential palace in Kabul that pro-Taleban Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children or invented stories to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties.

During the meeting, the governor of Kunar, Fazlullah Vahidi, expressed concern about the NATO air strikes on Afghan villagers that dozens of women and children perished.

The Afghan officials present at the meeting were said to be unhappy by Petraeus’s comment.

One participant, said: “This was shocking. Would any father do this to his children? This is really absurd.”

Meanwhile, Petraeus’ accusation has infuriated the Afghan officials that they went straight to the White House to complain about the insensitivity of whatever Petraeus said.
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30262830

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