US Defense Secretary Gates Arrives In Afghanistan
March 07, 2011
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has arrived in the Afghan capital Kabul on an previously unannounced visit.
The Pentagon said Gates will visit with U.S. troops, allied commanders, and Afghan leaders during a two-day stay.
Gates also plans to travel to eastern and southern parts of Afghanistan, where the Taliban insurgency is strongest.
His arrival comes amid fresh strains after NATO helicopters mistakenly killed nine Afghan children on March 2 in eastern Afghanistan.
NATO's international force in Afghanistan said it mistook the children for rebels who had earlier attacked a nearby U.S. military base in Kunar Province.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, that his apology over the incident was "not enough."
Karzai told Petraeus at a March 6 meeting in Kabul that civilian casualties in the almost decade-old war are "no longer acceptable."
Earlier in the Afghan capital, hundreds chanting "Death to America" protested over the killing of Afghan civilians by foreign forces.
There have been at least four incidents of civilian casualties in eastern Afghanistan in the past two weeks in which Afghan officials say more than 80 people have died.
After the latest incident, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, called for a review of air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan.
compiled from agency reports