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Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Monday, 25 August 2008 19:01 UK

Afghans demand 'new troops deal'

French troops in Afghanistan
Troops from 40 countries make up the international force

The Afghan government says it wants to renegotiate the terms of foreign forces in their country after more than 90 civilians were killed in a US bombing.

International troops are in Afghanistan to help provide security, particularly in a fierce counter insurgency campaign against the Taleban.

But in recent months there has been increased anger over the issue of civilian casualties.

Two senior Afghan military commanders have been sacked over the air strike.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who ordered the dismissals, had previously criticised US forces for "unilateral operations" over the strike in west of the country.

But he later appeared to suggest Afghan forces were partly to blame, ordering the removal of a general and a major.

The US originally said its strike had killed 30 militants. It is looking into the claims of many civilian deaths.

The Afghan cabinet said the review should focus on limiting the authority and responsibilities of international forces and demand an end to air strikes on civilians and illegal searches and arrests.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says the cabinet resolution seems to have been prompted by the latest killings.

It is not immediately clear whether this resolution is an act of political posturing or if it will have serious consequences for the future, he adds.

But, our correspondent says, the resolution is bound to worsen relations between the Afghan government and international forces stationed in the country.

Different approach

Italy, which has about 2,400 troops among almost 70,000 international soldiers in Afghanistan, ruled out a retreat of foreign forces.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini suggested "renegotiating the presence of international forces does not signify a retreat but probably a different way of managing the presence of military contingents in the region", Ansa news agency quoted him as saying.

A Nato spokeswoman said it had not been informed of any Afghan government plan to renegotiate.

"The Afghan government has not notified such a decision to Nato," she told AFP news agency, adding that the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) "is in Afghanistan on the basis of a United Nations mandate and has been invited there by the government of Afghanistan".


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