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No pact unless US residential strikes stop: Karzai

328053_Hamid KarzaiThe Afghan president has strongly condemned a recent fatal airstrike by the US forces in Afghanistan, warning that he would not sign a security pact with Washington unless its troops stop targeting residential areas.

The Afghan presidential office said in a statement issued on Sunday, “President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the NATO air strike in which he says five civilians, including three students aged 10, 14 and 16, were killed in eastern Nangarhar Province on Friday (October 4) night.”

The airstrike was carried out near the city of Jalalabad.

The statement added that the three schoolboys were brothers.

Karzai also accused Americans of violating Afghanistan’s sovereignty by attacking civilians.

The US is seeking to keep part of its forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014 under a security agreement. The US airstrikes have long been a source of friction between Kabul and Washington.

Afghan lawmakers have also reacted to the attack. They demand explanation from the US military over the deadly attack.

On Sunday, the lawmakers called on the Afghan government to take serious action against the US airstrikes.

On October 5, a similar airstrike was conducted in the province of Maidan Wardak. Five people died and three others were wounded in the incident.

President Karzai has repeatedly questioned the legality of the attacks. He has on numerous occasions called on the United States to stop the nighttime strikes.

Washington claims the attacks only target members of the Taliban militant group. However, reports on the ground show that many of the victims have been Afghan civilians.

According to the United Nations, the US-operated drone strikes pose a growing challenge to the international rule of law.

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