Afghan president condemns US airstrike that killed a child

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) meets with US National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Kabul in this handout provided by the Afghan presidential palace taken on Nov 25, 2013. Mr Karzai said US forces had bombed a home in southern Afghan
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) meets with US National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Kabul in this handout provided by the Afghan presidential palace taken on Nov 25, 2013. Mr Karzai said US forces had bombed a home in southern Afghanistan, killing a small child and wounding two women, and condemned the attack as a sign of disregard for civilian lives, his spokesman said on Thursday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL (REUTERS) - President Hamid Karzai said US forces had bombed a home in southern Afghanistan, killing a small child and wounding two women, and condemned the attack as a sign of disregard for civilian lives, his spokesman said on Thursday.

The strike could not have come at a worse time, as Mr Karzai is engaged in a stand-off with the US government over a bilateral security agreement that will decide whether US troop stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

"It shows that US forces have no respect for the decisions of the Loya Jirga (council of elders) and life of civilians in Afghanistan," said Mr Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

"If such operations continue, there will be no agreement."

The United States has threatened to pull its troops out of Afghanistan after 2014 - an outcome known as the "zero option", as it did in Iraq two years ago - unless a deal is clinched by the end of this year, Mr Karzai, however, has so far refused to sign, despite getting approval from the Loya Jirga last week. The council almost unanimously advised him to seal the agreement promptly, saying this was in the national interest.

Mr Karzai instead has refused and made additional demands on the US, including the return of all Afghan prisoners from its prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The child killed in Thursday's bombing was two or three years old, Mr Faizi said, adding that the attack took place after the targeted individual ran into a home for safety.

"They give no importance to the life of civilians. They are killing civilians like flies," Mr Faizi said.

"That should have been a red line for them... Even if he was an insurgent they shouldn't have fired on the house."

A man was killed in a separate strike in the same province on Thursday afternoon, Mr Faizi added. Local officials had yet to confirm whether the victim was an insurgent or not.