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Karzai: U.S. failed to consult Afghans on airstrike

5:55 PM, Jun 9, 2012   |    comments
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan's president says U.S. forces failed to consult their Afghan counterparts when calling in an airstrike that killed 18 civilians this week.

The incident occurred during a nighttime raid on militants taking cover in a village in Logar province. The raids have been a major irritant in Afghan President Hamid Karzai's relationship with the international military coalition.

Karzai says the raids put civilians at risk of injury or death. Military officials say such operations are key to capturing and killing Taliban leaders.

A spokesman for Karzai says investigators told the president that Afghan forces had surrounded the house in question, but U.S. troops decided not to wait for them to try to flush out the militants. Instead, they called in aircraft and only discovered later that there had also been women, children and old men inside.

The U.S. and Afghanistan signed an agreement in April that put the Afghan government in charge of most such "special operations" - a move designed to resolve some of the longstanding tensions.

Meanwhile, in eastern Afghanistan today, a Taliban suicide bomber disguised as a woman wearing a burqa killed four French soldiers when he blew himself up in a market.

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