Afghan President Hamid Karzai is to cut short his China trip amid allegations of civilian deaths in a NATO airstrike ineastern Afghanistan, dpa quoted the presidential palace as saying Thursday in a statement.
Karzai "has strongly condemned the bombardment carried out by the NATO forces in Baraki Barak district of Logar province in which 18 innocent civilians were killed," the statement said.
"While deeply grieved by the innocent deaths resulted by the NATO airstrike in Logar and the terrorist attacks earlier in Kandahar, President Karzai is cutting short his official trip currently underway in China and would very soon return home," the statement said.
"NATO operations that inflict human and material losses to civilians can in no way be justifiable, acceptable and tolerable," Karzai was quoted as saying in the statement.
Karzai is in China to attend the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. He was also expected to sign a bilateral agreement of support for his country with his Chinese counterpart.
Early Wednesday, an Afghan tribal elder and 17 family members, including four women and nine children, were allegedly killed by a NATO airstrike in Logar province.
In another incident, 23 Afghans were killed on Wednesday in a suicide attack in the southern province of Kandahar.
The NATO-led coalition late Wednesday said it had initiated a joint assessment of the alleged civilian casualties. Earlier, they had said only two women had "sustained non-life-threatening injuries."
"Coalition forces take every allegation of civilian casualties seriously and will conduct a complete assessment of the engagement," NATO said.