Saturday, March 26, 2011
MOSCOW, - NATO could be dragged into a full-scale war in Libya, like those being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia's ambassador to the military alliance was quoted as saying on Saturday.
NATO has control of an arms embargo on Libya and agreed this week to assume command of a no-fly zone over its territory but Washington has been left in control of conducting air strikes against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's ground forces.
The United States hopes to hand over control of the air strikes as soon as possible and said on Friday it expected NATO to take command of it, although it was still being discussed.
"Just as we forecast, NATO is being drawn deeper and deeper into war in North Africa," Russia's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told Interfax news agency
A number of civilians have been killed and wounded in southern Afghanistan following a NATO air raid targeting two vehicles that coalition forces believed to be carrying Taliban fighters.
In a statement on Saturday, the coalition said that it was investigating the incident, but did not release the number of dead and wounded.
Nato said the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had called in an air attack on the two vehicles believing them to be carrying a Taliban leader and his associates, but later discovered they were transporting civilians.
The attack occurred on Friday in the Naw Zad district of Helmand province.
Civilian casualties in military operations in Afghanistan have become increasingly embarrassing for international forces battling the Taliban there ahead of a planned handover of security to Afghan forces.
The latest incident comes only two days after the coalition killed two civilians in the eastern province of Khost.
The two were walking near a car with suspected insurgents and were not seen until after a NATO helicopter gunship launched its attack, NATO said.