Locals outraged by U.S. airstrikes

May 10, 2009 6:18:39 PM PDT
The White House said Sunday it will not put a stop to U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan. The bombings are facing intense criticism after one last week killed more than 100 Afghani civilians.

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Fremont has a very large Afghan community and many still have family in Afghanistan. When civilians are killed there, the pain is also felt here. Afghan-Americans want the casualties to end.

Afghan-Americans living in the Bay Area are outraged by last week's deadly air strikes. They gathered in Fremont this mother's day to demand peace and strategic change in their home land.

The intended targets of last week's airstrikes in Western Afghanistan were the Taliban but many of those killed were civilians.

"They need to focus more on the intelligence side of it. They can't just throw bombs in the air and guess where it's going to go," said Layma Murtaza of Newark.

"We'd like to urge NTAO and the U.S. to increase their collaboration with each other and make sure that they're really getting the people they want to be getting and not innocent Afghans," said Bilal Askaryar, also of Newark.

On Sunday Afghanistan's president called for an end to air strikes.

"Our homes, our villages are not bases for terrorism and that they should be safe," said Hamid Karzai. "And, the important that America recognize, that civilian casualities are the biggest concernt in Afghanistan and they tarnish the effort against terrorists."

President Karzai says as many as 130 civilians were killed making it the deadliest single incident involving Afghan civilians since the U.S. invaded in 2001. The National Security Advisor Sunday blamed the Taliban for the high civilian death toll.

"The Taliban of course is not playing by the same rules," said James Jones. "They're using civilians as shields. So, we have to take a look at this and make sure that our commanders understand the subtleties of the situation, the complexity of it and do the right thing."

Jones promised to try harder to spare innocent lives in Afghanistan but he refused to stop air strikes saying, "We can't fight with one hand tied behind our backs."

Karzai also directly told President Obama during a meeting in Washington last week that U.S. led air strikes must end. Washington now plans to double its efforts to save civilians.

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