NATO orders restrictions on Afghan air strikes: US

NATO has issued orders to restrict air strikes on insurgents hiding in residential homes in Afghanistan after an allied raid that left up to 18 civilians dead, a top US general said Monday.

The head of the coalition force, General John Allen, handed down "guidance that we will not employ aerial-delivered munitions on a civilian dwelling, unless, of course, it is the last resort, and it is, in fact, to ensure the defense of our soldiers," Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti, deputy commander of US forces, told reporters via video link from Kabul.

"It does not mean that we will not go after insurgents, that we don't expect insurgents ...to use civilian dwellings," he said.

His comments followed a statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday that said the NATO commander had "promised" a halt to air strikes on residential areas.

General Allen took the extraordinary step of flying to Logar province, south of Kabul, to apologize over the deaths of civilians in an air raid conducted early Wednesday.

NATO says the air strike targeted insurgents in a residential home but Afghan officials say 18 civilians died in the attack.

Despite the incident, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has made progress in recent months in reducing the number of civilians casualties from its operations, according to Scaparrotti.

He said that air strikes against insurgents sheltering in civilian homes made up a small fraction of overall coalition air attacks.

Out of a total of 3,531 NATO air strikes in the past six months, only 19 civilian compounds were targeted and of those, five resulted in civilian casualties, he said.

"It's a very small number that actually are in (civilian) compounds," he said..

The rules for employing air strikes have shifted back and forth during the ten-year-old war.

In 2009, then-commander General Stanley McChrystal ordered limits on fire power from aircraft and artillery, warning that civilian casualties risked undermining NATO's effort and alienating the Afghan population.

But when former General David Petraeus took over in 2010, he eased some rules amid complaints that troops had been placed in a dangerous position and denied back-up from warplanes and attack helicopters.

Scaparrotti said the new guidance would not prevent coalition troops from defending themselves.

He said that "if they're in a situation where there are no other options, of course they'll have availability of air-delivered munitions."

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the new orders would not take the pressure off of the Taliban insurgency.

"This should not be taken by the insurgents as any sign that they will be somehow safer or more protected because of this decision," he told reporters.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

  • Filipina maid photographs "modern slavery" in Hong Kong

    By Emma Batha LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Filipina maid in Hong Kong has published stark photographs of burned and beaten domestic workers to highlight the "modern slavery" she says has long been the city's shameful secret. "Hong Kong is a very modern, successful city but people treat their helpers like slaves," said Xyza Cruz Bacani, whose black and white portraits won her a scholarship from the Magnum Foundation to start studying at New York University this month. It's common …

  • Want to buy a brand new car?
    Want to buy a brand new car?

    Tired of fixing your old car? Maybe, this is the best time for you to invest a brand new car. BPI Family Savings Bank, the country’s leading consumer bank, is extending its newest campaign “Bagong Kotse, 1-Month Libre” promo until June 30, 2015 which allows potential car buyers to avail of a car loan term up […] The post Want to buy a brand new car? appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options