The death of innocent Afghan civilians in foreign bombing raids could seriously undermine the efforts to fight terrorism, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai told the UN General Assembly Wednesday.
The deaths hurt "the credibility of the Afghan people's partnership with the international community," Karzai said.
The issue has hurt U.S.-Afghan relations, especially since an Afghan commission found that a U.S.-led military operation in the western village of Azizabad killed 90 civilians, including 60 children, on Aug. 22.
The findings of the commission were backed up by preliminary UN investigations, although the U.S. says it is still looking into the incident.
Karzai urged the international community to put more effort into strengthening his country's military forces and police.
"Above all, Afghanization of the military operations is vital if the problem of civilian casualties is to be addressed effectively," Karzai said in his speech.
The Taliban's attacks are growing larger and more deadly, with this year being the most violent since 2001 when the Taliban were ousted from power.
"Terrorist forces have significantly increased their attacks and brutality and enjoyed freedom in their sanctuaries," Karzai said.
The recent replacement of Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, who had held power since a 1999 coup, was praised by Karzai. The two countries have long squabbled over how to deal with the terrorists who are based in their border regions.
The UN Security Council voted unanimously Monday to extend the NATO-led force in Afghanistan but urged its leaders to do all they can to reduce the growing number of civilian casualties.
Karzai said more U.S. ground forces are needed in Afghanistan.
There are about 33,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, with plans to send more troops to the country in 2009.