Killing of civilians in Afghanistan makes US halt raids

March 10th, 2009 - 3:15 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, Mar 10 (ANI): The killing of innocent civilians, including women and children in Afghanistan, has forced a commander of America’’s Special Operations force to order a two-week halt on commando missions.
According to the New York Times, the stand-down was ordered by Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, the head of the military’’s Joint Special Operations Command, which oversees the secret commando units.
The order covered all commando missions except those against the highest-ranking leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, military officials said.
McRaven has asked the military for time to impose new safeguards to reduce the risk of civilian deaths. The halt is also likely to help the military release information about civilian casualties more quickly, to pre-empt what some said have been exaggerated accounts by Afghan officials.
American commanders in Afghanistan rely on commando units to carry out some of the most delicate operations against militant leaders. These units carry out several operations each week.
A United Nations report released last month revealed that the clandestine missions by commando units have contributed to a surge in civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2008. It also said that the civilian casualties rose nearly by 40 percent compared with 2007. (ANI)

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