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“We value the strong relationship with our Afghan partners, and we will determine what actions will be taken to ensure incidents like this do not happen again,” said the NATO spokeswoman, Snow.

Previously, Karzai had ordered an end to all coalition air strikes unless they were first cleared by the defense ministry.

The president’s decree banned airstrikes in residential areas, Azimi said, at the same time stressing that the Afghan army needs NATO’s air power.

“For air support, we always need the support of NATO forces,” said Azimi. “The worries of the president, Ministry of Defense and the Afghan people are (about) civilian casualties in an airstrike. Therefore, the president issued a decree not to have any airstrikes in residential areas.”

Azimi refused to say whether NATO had first contacted the ministry before carrying out Thursday’s airstrike, in keeping with Karzai’s demands.


Associated Press Writer Krishan Francis in Colombo, Sri Lanka, contributed to this report.