Hands off our trees, Karzai tells NATO

KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday accused NATO-led forces fighting an Islamic insurgency in his country of illegally cutting down thousands of trees.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 24 Jan 2011, 10:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 9:41 PM

The US-backed leader said Western troops, part of a 140,000-strong US-led force deployed to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, had chopped down up to 4,000 trees in Ghazni, a troubled province in the southeast.

“The president in condemning this act emphasises to the international forces that they must avoid such action, which is a crime against Afghanistan’s public properties and destroys the environment,” his office said in a statement.

However, Lieutenant Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) dismissed the claims.

“We looked at that (and) we found no operational report to support that allegation,” he told AFP.

Afghanistan has been at war for the past three decades and has lost many of its natural resources, including once-thriving woodland.

Karzai’s office issued the statement as negotiations continued with lawmakers to resolve a row over the opening of parliament which threatens to boil over into a constitutional crisis.

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