Afghan President: Anti-terrorism battle must focus on sanctuaries

By Xinhua,

Kabul : Afghan President Hamid Karzai Tuesday in a meeting with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delegation emphasized the battle against militants and terrorist activities must be conducted in their sanctuaries rather than villages where innocent Afghan civilians live.

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From 2004, Afghanistan began to see increased terrorist activities for clear reasons, the international community and the main partners in the war on terror neglected the sanctuaries in the region, for the terrorists and the Taliban for a long time, Karzai said.

“All our allies neglected the question of sanctuaries. We allowed them to train, equip, motivate and to fund and send them to Afghanistan to kill Afghans and kill the international community, to attack reconstruction,” he said. “So, I hope now that the international community pays more attention to the question of sanctuaries.”

Meanwhile, the Afghan leader noted that peaking of civilian casualties by air raids of international troops has undermined the confidence of Afghans and fruits of reconstruction.

“Civilian casualties is an extremely serious matter, forceful entry into the house of afghan people by the coalition forces is an extremely serious important matter for us,” Karzai said.

“Therefore, there has to be change. Change means: enable the Afghan People to run their own affairs. In security, give them a better army, give them resources to have a better army, enable them to have a bigger police force and a better police force, stop aerial bombardment of our villages,” he added.

Moreover, Karzai asked the international community to set a timeline for clearing terrorism and ending the war in the post Taliban country and “Afghanistan will do everything it can to provide the opportunity for peace.”

Spiraling conflicts and Taliban-linked insurgency have claimed over 5,000 people with some 2,000 civilians so far this year despite around 70,000 international troops deployed in the war-torn country.

UNSC fact finding delegation was headed by Ambassador Giulio Terzi of Italy and attended by UN ambassadors and representatives from 14 other countries.

The delegation’s tour is taking place in the wake of increasing Taliban-related insurgency and Afghans’ complains that both Afghan government and the international community have failed to ensure security and alleviate poverty in the post-Taliban Asian state.