Civilian casualties in Afghan not entirely avoidable: Scheffer

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Kabul, Nov 22 (UNI) NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has struck back over criticism of high civilian casualties during NATO operations, saying it was not useful to start a blame game between international organisations.

Mr Scheffer's remarks came in the wake of criticism by the UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour regarding the alarming increase in civilian casualties in NATO operations.

Mr Scheffer was on a visit to Afghanistan for addressing a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Ms Arbour had made these remarks during her visit to Afghanistan which concluded on Tuesday. Contrary to Ms Arbour's claim that she had found a receptive audience in NATO, Mr Scheffer today said the civilian casualties were never entirely avoidable.

While insisting that NATO was adapting its strategy to minimise casualties among civilians, Mr Scheffer said NATO was here in combat and in those combat operations unfortunately Afghan civilian suffer casualties.

UNI

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