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Karzai accuses US of killing civilians Seven children, one woman killed in airstrike

KABUL, Jan 15, (AFP): President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday accused the United States of killing seven children and a woman in an airstrike in central Afghanistan — an incident set to further damage frayed ties between the two allies. Relations between Washington and Kabul have been rocky for years, and negotiations over an agreement that would allow some US troops to remain in the country after this year have broken down into a long-running public dispute.

Karzai made a surprise decision not to sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA) late last year despite having vowed to do so, leading to the threat of a complete withdrawal of USled NATO troops by the end of 2014. “As a result of bombardment by American forces last night, which was conducted... in Siahgird district of Parwan province, one woman and seven children were martyred and one civilian injured,” a statement from his office said. “The Afghan government has been asking for a complete end to operations in Afghan villages for years, but American forces acting against all mutual agreements and guarantees... have once again bombarded a residential area and killed civilians.”

Civilian casualties have been one of the most sensitive issues of the 13-year military intervention in Afghanistan, and Karzai has often used accidental shootings and misguided airstrikes to berate foreign countries and stir public anger. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), earlier said it was “aware of reports that at least two civilians were inadvertently killed today during an Afghan-led joint operation in Ghorband (Siahgird) District”.

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