NATO brass sees improved Afghan relations

June 4, 2006 at 11:21 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 4 (UPI) -- When NATO forces take over security in southern Afghanistan next month, their commander promises improved relations with local Afghans.

Recent incidents with the current security force of U.S. soldiers have brought tension into the area, which NATO's Lt. Gen. David Richards said he hoped to undo. A U.S. vehicle crash killed several Afghans last Monday, leading to a deadly riot.

"We are all determined to improve that so the people here don't look on us as people who don't care about the Afghans", Richards told the BBC.

Attempting to respect the rights of local citizens, while preventing violence in an area known for Taliban suicide bombings, could prove to be a difficult challenge.

"I will use military power not necessarily just to defeat the Taliban but just as importantly to secure the future of their villages and their localities," said Richards.

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