Afghan prez ally of Allah: American war effort 'really disturbs us' - U.S.troops must stop killing 'Taliban who are sons of this land'
June 23, 2006
Afghan leader says war toll is too high
Karzai's criticism rises with violence
BY TINI TRAN
June 23, 2006
KABUL, Afghanistan -- President Hamid Karzai criticized the U.S.-led coalition's anti-terror campaign Thursday, deploring the deaths of hundreds of Afghans and appealing for more help for his government.
Karzai's sharp assessment came as Osama bin Laden's deputy urged Afghans to revolt against coalition forces, and four U.S. soldiers were killed.
More than four years after U.S.-led forces toppled the extremist Taliban government, Afghanistan is gripped by its deadliest spate of post-invasion violence. To try to curb the bloodshed, more than 10,000 coalition forces have launched a major offensive against militants across southern Afghanistan. More than 600 people, mainly militants, have been killed since May.
But Karzai, who has previously scorned large-scale anti-militant campaigns, rejected the continued spilling of Afghan blood in military operations. "It is not acceptable for us that in all this fighting, Afghans are dying." Even "if they are Taliban, they are sons of this land."
Afghan and coalition forces on Thursday raided a Taliban compound northwest of Tirin Kot, the capital of Uruzgan province, killing eight militants, the coalition said. Six others were captured.
Karzai said the focus on hunting militants doesn't address terrorism's root causes. "We must engage strategically in disarming terrorism by stopping their sources of supply of money, training, equipment and motivation," he said.
The war on terrorism, said Karzai, needs to be broadened beyond Afghan borders. Many Afghani officials have accused neighboring Pakistan of doing too little to capture Taliban militants. Pakistan denies the claims.
A February donors' conference in London pledged $10.5 billion in aid for Afghanistan, most for improving security.