Karzai details Afghans security takeover

President Karzai (L) presents a sword to a graduating officer at the National Military Academy in Kabul on March 22, 2011.

Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai says Afghan soldiers and police will take over security from US-led foreign forces in several parts of the country in July.

In a speech in Kabul, Karzai said the provincial capitals of Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan, Herat in the west, Mazar-e-Sharif in the north and Mehterlam in the east are considered for transition.

Karzai also added some parts of Kabul, Bamiyan and Panjshir provinces are also on the transition list.

“The people of Afghanistan don’t want that foreigners take responsibility for security any more,” Karzai told the National Military Academy in Kabul on Tuesday.

“Transition means taking responsibility for both security and development,” the president added.

The remarks come as insecurity is on the rise across the country despite the presence of over 150,000 US-led forces there.

NATO had earlier said it would start handing over security control to Afghan forces from the beginning of 2011. The Western military alliance said it planned to complete the transition by the end of 2014.

But senior US and NATO officials have signaled that foreign troops will remain in the country beyond 2014.

Washington says the transition does not mean that Afghan forces will be in charge everywhere.

US President Barack Obama has promised to keep American forces in Afghanistan even after other Western countries withdraw their troops.

This is while Obama had pledged a major drawdown from Afghanistan by July 2011. Experts have described the new contradictory transition dates as a devastating truth for Americans.

Thousands of Afghans have so far lost their lives due to military operations by foreign troops since the 2001 US-led invasion.

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Chileans protest Obama visit, N deal

Chilean high school students marched in capital Santiago to demand improvements in public education, in August 2010.

Chileans have held demonstrations to protest the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama to the country following a recent nuclear deal between the two nations.

“This demonstration is to reject Barack Obama’s militaristic policies,” said a protest organizer.

The angry protesters organized two peaceful rallies on Sunday, complaining that the nuclear agreement was signed despite major nuclear crisis that developed in Japan following the huge earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on March 11, AFP reported Monday.

Chilean opposition lawmakers and environmentalists argue that the Friday agreement is too risky for their country, which lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and like Japan, is quite prone to devastating earthquakes.

The devastating 9-magnitude earthquake, followed by a monstrous tsunami that hit Japan earlier in March, caused radioactive leakage due to explosions in the nuclear power plants that resulted from malfunctioning cooling systems.

Chile experienced its own 8.8-magnitude earthquake just last year, which was also followed by a tsunami that claimed the lives of more than 500 people.

The Chilean demonstrators, numbering close to 2,000, held signs that read, “Nuclear energy is energy of death.”

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and President Obama are set to meet Monday in the capital Santiago, where Obama is scheduled to deliver a speech on the Latin America.

Karzai blasts US for killing children

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called on the US-led forces stationed in his country to put an immediate end to the killing of innocent children.

Karzai made the remarks at a cabinet meeting attended by General David Petraeus, the US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.

“On behalf of the people of Afghanistan, I want you to stop the killings of civilians,” he said on Sunday.

Nine children were killed in a NATO helicopter raid on Tuesday while they were collecting firewood in the Kunar province.

NATO says the children were mistaken for militants.

President Karzai condemned the killings and US President Barack Obama apologized for the incident.

Karzai said apology for the deaths of nine children is “not enough.”

Hundred of Afghans took to the streets of the capital, Kabul to protest NATO’s killing of the children. The protesters chanted “Death to America” and “Death to the Invaders.”

The demonstration follows similar rallies in the northeastern province of Kunar.

Civilian casualties have been a key source of tension between Kabul and foreign forces in Afghanistan. More than 2,400 civilians are estimated to have been killed in 2010 by both foreign forces and militants, reports say.

Meanwhile, a recent Afghan study on unexploded munitions has revealed that the US-led NATO forces have been using internationally prohibited bombs against civilians in the war-torn country.

Insecurity is on the rise across the country despite the presence of over 150,000 US-led forces there.

Another US-led troop dies in Afghan war

A soldier of the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan

A soldier with the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been killed in a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan.

“An ISAF service member died following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan today,” the military coalition said in a brief statement issued on Saturday.

However, the alliance did not announce the name or nationality of the victim.

The latest death brings to 75 the number of foreign troops killed in Afghanistan so far this year.

Last year, nonetheless, remains the deadliest year for foreign military casualties with a death toll of 711. The figure eclipsed the previous record of 521, set in 2009.

Roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are by far the most lethal weapon Taliban militants use against foreign troops, Afghan forces, and civilians.

In addition, hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming more and more outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.

US-led forces admit to Afghan ‘tragedy’

Commander of US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan General David Petraeus

The commander of the US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has admitted that a NATO airstrike has killed nine civilians in the war-torn country.

Petraeus said in a statement on Wednesday that he was “deeply sorry for the tragedy,” warning the troops responsible for the attack could face disciplinary action, Los Angeles Times reported.

The statements came after Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier had slammed foreign forces for what he called “the daily killing of Afghan civilians.”

NATO has always evaded responsibility for the killing of hundreds of Afghan civilians during airstrikes, claiming that the attacks target Taliban militants. However, Karzai has said that villages are not the bases and havens of terrorists.

Nine children, aged between seven and nine, were killed in a US-led aerial operation in Afghanistan’s northwestern province of Kunar late Tuesday, police said.

The incident has aroused public fury among Afghans who are already replete with anti-US sentiments. On Wednesday hundreds of people staged demonstrations in protest against killing of civilians by foreign forces.

Thousands of Afghan people have so far lost their lives as a result of military operations by the foreign troops since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Insecurity is on the rise across the country despite the presence of over 150,000 US-led forces there.

‘Afghan villagers fear new US strike’

US airstrikes on the village of Heelgal in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar have sparked great panic among its residents.

US airstrikes on the village of Heelgal in the eastern Afghan province of Kunar have sparked great panic among its residents.

NATO forces were accused on Monday of killing 64 civilians in a single village during four days of air and ground attacks in the Kunar region.

The village of Heelgal was once filled with joyful cheers of children, but now it is nothing more than a graveyard after being bombed by US aircraft, which has left trails of blood behind, a Press TV correspondent said Thursday.

“When we arrived here, people were weeping for their loved ones killed in the raids. They were still collecting body parts for burial as many bodies were completely destroyed,” the correspondent said.

NATO has disputed the accusations saying they targeted and killed only militants, but have agreed to probe the claims.

If you visit this village, which was under US-led NATO attacks for four days, you can get a clear picture that many of the people who died here were children and women.

On Sunday, tribal elders said that NATO forces killed the civilians, including women and children who had been inside their houses.

People here say they were asleep when they came under fire. The villagers came out of their houses and hid themselves in caves to avoid the attacks. But most of them were not lucky.

These men told us that 10 children and 5 women were shot dead in one cave alone.

The latest raids of the US forces have sparked great panic among the residents of this village. Right after the raids, many of the villagers here have fled to other provinces in fear of future air strikes on their village. And those who are still here, are now living in constant fear of more attacks.

The people of this quiet village had never seen this many civilian deaths before. To them, it is now too difficult to accept that foreign troops are here to protect them. They say they cannot tolerate the presence of the Americans anymore.

President Karzai has also been shocked by the deaths. He has strongly condemned the US raids and has ordered an investigation into the deaths.

2 more UK soldiers slain in Afghan war

British soldiers in Afghanistan's Upper Sangin Valley

Two British soldiers serving in the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been killed in a militant attack in southern Afghanistan.

The soldiers were on patrol in Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province on Wednesday when they came under small arms fire and died, Associated Press reported on Thursday.

The latest deaths bring to 354 the number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since October 2001, when the US-led invasion of the country began.

The fatalities come as the Taliban have concentrated their roughly ten-year fight against the US-led forces on Afghanistan’s southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.

A total of 61 foreign troops have been killed in the war-ravaged Afghanistan so far this year.

Last year, nonetheless, remains the deadliest year for foreign military casualties with a total death toll of 711. The number eclipsed the previous record of 521, marked in 2009.

Meanwhile, hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming more and more outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.

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