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US commander in Afghanistan apologises for Helmand drone strike

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Emma Graham-Harrison and Ed Pilkington
London Guardian
November 30, 2013

The United States has moved to end the tense standoff with Afghan president Hamid Karzai over his refusal to sign a security pact between the two countries by formally apologising for a US drone strike in Helmand province that killed a toddler and injured two women.

The apology was delivered in a phone call to Karzai late on Thursday by marine General Joseph Dunford, the top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan. A spokesman for Dunford told Associated Press that the commander had spoken directly to Karzai and “expressed deep regrets for the incident and any civilian casualties” that had arisen from the airstrike earlier on Thursday.

Dunford also promised an immediate investigation by Nato into the incident.

The US-Afghan bilateral security agreement (BSA) was endorsed at a loya jirga (national gathering) convened by Karzai last week, which was expected to finalise the deal after a year of painful negotiations.

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This article was posted: Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

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