KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan president Hamid Karzai Sunday rejected an apology by the American general running the military campaign in his country for the recent deaths of nine boys in a helicopter attack, sending already tense relations with Washington to a new low.
Karzai's increasingly bitter public and private criticism of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan threatens a breakdown in the crucial relationship between the Afghan government and Washington. Karzai said the Afghans would lose trust in international forces as a result of civilian casualties, more of which were "unacceptable."
Karzai's comments came despite his speaking to President Obama in an hourlong video teleconference Wednesday, the day the boys were killed in northeast Afghanistan. Obama "expressed his deep regret," the White House said.
Gen. David Petraeus met Karzai Sunday and apologized for the incident in Kunar province, in which nine boys, said to be 7 to 13 years old, were attacked by coalition helicopters.
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"The apology is not enough," Karzai said in a statement issued by his office.