June 7, 2012 / 7:35 AM / 5 years ago

Karzai cuts short China trip after Afghan attacks

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) greets Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing June 7, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Ralston/Pool

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai is cutting short an official visit to China following reports of civilian deaths in a NATO air strike in southeast Afghanistan and an insurgent bombing in the south, the presidential palace said on Thursday.

Karzai said 18 civilians were killed in a pre-dawn air strike in Logar province on Wednesday. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said it was investigating.

“A NATO air strike in which civilian lives are lost and property damaged does not have any justification,” Karzai said. “It is not acceptable.”

A pair of suicide bombers also struck outside a major NATO base in the southern city of Kandahar on Wednesday, killing at least 2O people and wounding 50 in one of the bloodiest attacks in days.

Karzai was in Beijing to attend a regional security meeting and hold talks with Chinese leaders to deepen ties ahead of the Western pullout in 2014.

Reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Nick Macfie

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