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US vows to reduce civilian casualties

4 August 2010 14:47

Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus has vowed to reduce civilian casualties in the war-torn country.

Gen. Petraeus has issued new rules, which is expected to result in a decrease in the number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, NATO said in a Wednesday statement.

The US-led forces launch attacks on alleged militant hideouts on a regular basis, but the strikes usually result in civilian casualties because of bad intelligence or flaws in the operations.

“The directive firmly places the presence of civilians at the centre of every decision involving the use of force” and ensures “that some areas that may have led to misperceptions are clarified,” the statement read.

Petraeus replaced Gen. Stanly McChrystal who was forced by US President Barack Obama to resign over criticizing White House officials in an interview with the Rolling Stone.

Civilian casualties have been on the rise despite an earlier promise by Petraeus to put protecting civilian lives high on his agenda.

Loss of civilian lives in foreign troops’ operations has caused controversy in the nearly nine-year Afghan war.

Civilians have been the main victims of violence in Afghanistan, particularly in the country’s troubled southern and eastern provinces.

The US and NATO downplay the number of civilian casualties.

The foreign presence in Afghanistan has so far failed to eliminate militancy and bring peace and stability to the country.

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