After a NATO airstrike late Saturday in Afghanistan killed at least 10 children and two women, a spokesperson for the alliance said the bombing campaign which continues killing innocents continues “to be necessary.”
The latest NATO attack to kill innocent women and children has led Afghan President Hamid Karzai to declare such actions as unacceptable and said “unilateral” action against NATO is likely if the activity continues.
In Kabul, Karzai said: “From this moment, airstrikes on the houses of people are not allowed,” CTV News reports. The president has repeatedly warned NATO against such actions as public protests in Afghanistan continue, with anger the underlying them. Karzai added the deadly airstrikes on civilians must end or “the Afghan government will be forced to take unilateral action.”
In its latest statement on Monday, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Afghan activities, including insurgent killings and insurgent detainments, was clear to report its actions regarding civilians. In one security operation description, ISAF noted
The security force insured the safety of all civilians during the operation.
In another operation on Sunday in Kunduz province, ISAF said:
No civilian casualties or structural damages were reported.
Although it is unclear what actions the Afghan government could take against NATO, Karzai continued with his ultimatum: “If this is repeated, Afghanistan has a lot of ways of stopping it, but we don't want to go there. We want NATO to stop the raids on its own, without a declaration ... by the Afghan government, because we want to continue to co-operate,” according to CTV News.
America’s involvement in the near-decade long occupation is beginning to take a toll on continued support. In March, Afghan war supporter Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, said: “A majority of Americans no longer support the war. The next several months will therefore be decisive as winter turns to spring, the traditional fighting season in Afghanistan,” according to VOA News.
The US is scheduled to begin a drawdown of troops later this year, but President Obama recently said the total number of troops will likely be around 5,000, a number some see as a token amount. “Five thousand on July 1 and nothing else, that won’t fly,” said Representative John Garamendi, D-CA, Boston.com reports. “That will create a great deal of anger.”
At stake are outcomes to next year’s general election, and as a result, a growing number of Republicans have begun voicing concerns over the war. Last week, a bill which would require an accelerated timeline for withdrawing 100,000 troops in Afghanistan received the support of 26 House Republicans.
Hours after Karzai made his announcement for NATO to stop bombing Afghan homes, NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said the bombings “continue to be necessary,” according to CTV News.
For its part in the Saturday night airstrike, ISAF Major General John Toolan said: “On behalf of the coalition, I offer our heartfelt apologies to the families and friends of those killed,” Digital Journal reported.
The attack occurred in Nawzad district and coalition troops thought they were firing on homes containing insurgents.