After nine children were killed on Tuesday in a Nato air strike in Afghanistan, the country’s president Hamid Karzai has told the US commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan that his apology is “not enough”.
Aged 12 and under, the boys gathering firewood were mistaken for insurgents by Nato helicopters.
On Wednesday Gen David Petraeus said he was “deeply sorry” for the air strike.
During a cabinet meeting where Gen David Petraeus was present, president Karzai said : “On behalf of the people of Afghanistan I want you to stop the killings of civilians.”
“The civilian casualties are a main cause of worsening the relationships between Afghanistan and the US,” he was quoted as saying.
“The people are tired of these things and apologies and condemnations are not healing any pain.”
Well aware of the strength of feeling, Washington has worked on reducing casualties, and according to Nato last year most civilian casualties were caused by Taliban insurgents, not the security forces.
On Sunday hundreds of people gathered in Kabul (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk) to condemn both Nato and the Taliban for killing civilians. On the same day a roadside bomb killed at least 12 civilians in eastern Afghanistan.