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Mon May 7, 2012, 05:41 PM


Karzai says Afghan civilian deaths could hinder U.S. pact

By Mirwais Harooni
KABUL | Mon May 7, 2012 3:18pm EDT

KABUL (Reuters) - The strategic pact sealed by President Barack Obama last week in Afghanistan is at risk of becoming "meaningless" if Afghans do not feel safe, President Hamid Karzai said on Monday, referring to recent civilian casualties inflicted by NATO.

Karzai summoned U.S. General John Allen, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker to his palace to discuss the civilian deaths, a longstanding thorn in ties between Karzai and his Western backers.

The killing of civilians has soured the feelings of many ordinary Afghans towards foreign forces in a war that is becoming increasingly unpopular and is dragging into its 11th year.

"Karzai signed the strategic pact with the United States to avoid such incidents (civilian casualties) and if Afghans do not feel safe, the strategic partnership loses its meaning," a presidential palace statement said, referring to an agreement setting out a long-term U.S. role in Afghanistan.


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