Karzai Demands End to US Air Strikes

Record Toll of Farah Attack Renews Outrage Over Bombing Villages

by Jason Ditz, May 08, 2009

Ending his visit to the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded that the United States end its air strikes in his country, saying that the rising death toll was infuriating the public. “We believe strongly that airstrikes are not an effective way of fighting terrorism, that airstrikes rather cause civilian casualties,” Karzai declared.

Karzai has long been at odds, first with the Bush Administration and now with the Obama Administraiton, about the policy of air strikes launched in Afghanistan. The issue really came to a head this week, however, after an air strike against two villages in Farah Provinces killed 147 civilians, nearly doubling the previous record for most civilians killed in a single attack.

President Obama has promised, as the previous administration so often did, to “be more careful” about not slaughtering hundreds of civilians with US air power. Yet less than nine months after officials were promising much the same policy changes when the Herat strike had killed 90 civilians, the most striking thing is how little has actually changed.

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