17 Feb 2013

No air strikes in residential areas - Karzai

7:33 am on 17 February 2013

President Hamid Karzai says Afghan security forces will be banned from calling for NATO air strikes in residential areas to help in their operations.

Mr Karzai said he would issue a decree on Sunday.

"I will issue a decree that no Afghan security forces, in any circumstances can ask for the foreigners' planes for carrying out operations on our homes and villages,'' Mr Karzai said in a speech at the Afghan National Military Academy in Kabul.

Ten civilians were killed in a night raid in the eastern province of Kunar on Wednesday.

Four Taliban fighters were also killed in the incident in the Shegal district of Kunar, which borders Pakistan.

Civilian casualties are a source of tension between Afghan and NATO forces, which are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

A BBC correspondent says Afghan forces now lead 90% of all security operations.

Mr Karzai said he had been told the air strike was requested by Afghan forces.

"If this is true, it is very regrettable and it is very shameful. How could they ask foreigners to send planes and bomb our own houses?" he said.