Air power just doesn’t win hearts and minds; and don’t tell me how we’ve painted their schools….
Air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan have recently killed more civilians than the Taliban and the U.S.-led operation should cut them back, an Afghan rights group said on Monday.
Instead, NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops battling the Taliban and other insurgents should boost the number of their foot soldiers — already numbering nearly 50,000, Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission said.
In the latest incident involving civilian fatalities, Afghan officials said on the weekend that 45 civilians were killed in an air strike in the south of the country.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the toll from the pre-dawn raid was much lower.
The rising toll on civilians is proving a major irritant for President Hamid Karzai whose government is under fire for rampant corruption, growing insecurity and lack of economic development.
Civilian deaths caused by foreign forces have sparked protests demanding the expulsion of foreign troops and Karzai’s resignation.
“Air operations have killed more civilians than Taliban,” Nader Nadery, a commissioner with the rights group told Reuters.