Tuesday, May 12, 2009

US says it won’t stop aerial bombings in Afghanistan

Updated at: 1516 PST, Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WASHINGTON: The United States has rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai's demand to stop aerial bombings, saying such a step would tie the hands of the U.S. forces in their war against terrorism in the country.

"We can't fight this war with one hand tied behind us," U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at a Pentagon press conference.

However, Gates asserted that the U.S. is seriously looking into the issue of civilian casualties and trying out ways how to minimise it.

"The fact of the matter is, civilian casualties since January in Afghanistan are down 40 per cent over a year ago during the same period. And US, Afghan and ISAF casualties are up 75 per cent during the same period," he said.

Earlier, U.S. National Security Advisor General (retd.) James Jones had also rejected such demand.

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