The top US commander in Afghanistan said on Sunday that a plan by President Hamid Karzai to ban Afghan forces from requesting airstrikes in residential areas would not hamper operations by the NATO-led military alliance, dpa reported.
Karzai made the airstrike ban vow on Saturday. He is expected to issue the ban in the coming days.
"This is a sovereign nation. President Karzai is exercising his sovereignty. We will do what we can to support the Afghan forces within the restrictions of the president's request," said US General Joseph Dunford, commander for the NATO-led coalition.
He said he was given "technical guidance" from the president regarding the use of air power.
"We can continue to effectively do our military operations and still meet the president's guidance," he said.
Afghan security forces depend mostly on NATO forces for air power, medical evacuation, and logistics.
"It's about how you plan an operation. We just need to put forethought before we plan," said Dunford, who took over the command earlier this month.
Karzai announced the ban after Afghan officials said a NATO airstrike killed 10 civilians, including women and children, in north-east Kunar province along with four insurgents, last week.
"President Karzai did not want us to use air-delivered ordinance among civilian population. I share his perspective on civilian casualty... We will not put civilian lives in danger."
Civilian casualties by coalition forces remain a thorny issue between Karzai and the NATO-led forces, which say civilian deaths in fell by 49 per cent in 2012 from a 2011.
"We were able to minimize civilian casualties last year and we will continue to minimize this year," Dunford said.