Afghan senators call for govt control over foreign troops | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 13, 2008

Afghan senators call for govt control over foreign troops

Afghan senators demanded yesterday that international troops operating in Afghanistan be brought under the country's law to make them accountable for mounting civilian casualties.
Parliament's upper house, or Meshrano Jirga (House of Elders), said it would draw up legislation to cover the operations of the US-led and Nato-led troops helping the government fight a Taliban-led insurgency.
The demand came during a heated debate over the number of civilians being killed in international military action against insurgents, mainly air strikes, with a series of deadly incidents in the past weeks.
"It was decided that the presence of foreign forces must be legalised under a law," a secretary to the house, Aminuddin Muzafari, told reporters afterwards.
"There should be a programme, a law, under which these forces conduct their activities. We will make that law," he said.
Any proposed law would have to have the approval of both houses of parliament as well as President Hamid Karzai.
There are already various UN and bilateral accords governing the role of the international soldiers who started deploying in late 2001 after an invasion that toppled the hardline Taliban government.
The senators also demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of the soldiers, now numbering around 70,000. The forces have said they would leave when the government is able to take care of security itself.
The upper house debate centred on an incident in which Afghan police accused troops with Nato's UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force of killing civilians in the province of Kapisa near Kabul at the weekend.

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