US to Cut Down on Afghan Airstrikes

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2009 1:08 PM CDT
An Afghan girl looks for her belongings in her house which was destroyed in the coalition air strike on Monday night in Bala Baluk district of Afghanistan, Friday, May 8, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US military is tightening its rules regarding airstrikes in Afghanistan, in the face of mounting civilian casualties, the New York Times reports. Airstrikes will now be used mostly to prevent coalition forces from being overrun, new Afghan commander Stanley McChrystal announced. “Air power contains the seeds of our own destruction if we do not use it responsibly,” he told senior officers last week. “We can lose this fight.”

US airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians and angered the Afghan government. Public outrage ran particularly hot last month, when an airstrike killed dozens in the village of Granai; a Pentagon report later concluded that many errors had been made. The Pentagon said 26 civilians had been killed, but the Afghan government put the number at 140.