U.S., NATO military buildup will not harm civilians: NATO spokesman

19:29, December 14, 2009      

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A NATO spokesman said Monday the surge of U.S. and NATO forces will not harm civilians, at a time when many Afghans and human rights groups are concerned that the military buildup will cause more civilian causalities in Afghanistan.

"I can assure you that preventing harm to Afghan people is one of our highest priorities," Col Wayne M. Shanks told reporters ina joint press briefing with spokesman of Afghan Defense Ministry Gen. Zahir Azimi.

The NATO spokesman also said that the top U.S. and NATO commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal has given the ISAF forces very specific orders to help them in order to protect the civilians.

"Protecting civilians and avoiding noncombatants are the most important parts of our new strategy," Shanks said.

U.S. President Barak Obama in his new strategy unveiled earlier this month announcing 30,000 additional forces to combat with Taliban-led insurgency.

According to the spokesman the first units of additional troops is likely to be arrived within a week while all the forces will be arrived in the next six to eight months.

Source: Xinhua
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