Petraeus vows to keep civilian deaths to minimum



KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The top NATO commander in Afghanistan is pledging to reduce the loss of innocent lives in NATO attacks to an “absolute minimum.”

Gen. David Petraeus’ comments reflect harsh Afghan complaints over casualties from NATO airstrikes.

Petraeus spoke Thursday in Khost province.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday ordered the U.S.-led coalition to stop bombing homes. Karzai’s remarks were prompted by a recent air attack that killed children and women.

It was Karzai’s strongest-ever statement against NATO alliance airstrikes and further complicated a difficult relationship with the U.S. as it prepares a troop drawdown in the increasingly unpopular war. NATO said t he airstrikes would continue. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said civilian casualties are unavoidable.