NATO's top commander apologized Saturday for civilian deaths caused by fighting between Taliban militants and NATO forces earlier in the week, but said insurgents endanger civilians by hiding among them.
"Sadly, in asymmetric warfare, when you're battling an insurgency, typically the insurgents do not play by the same rules that we would like to play by," US Gen. James L. Jones said.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch complained Friday that NATO's recent operations have killed dozens of civilians, but it also criticized the Taliban and other insurgents for putting civilians at risk "by using populated areas to launch attacks on NATO and Afghan government forces."
"While NATO forces try to minimize harm to civilians, they obviously are not doing enough," said Sam Zarifi, the group's Asia research director. "NATO's tactics are increasingly endangering the civilians they are supposed to be protecting and turning the local population against them."