President Hamid Karzai has announced that Afghan security forces are to be banned from calling for foreign air strikes in residential areas.
Hamid Karzai said he would issue a decree on Sunday, less than a week after 10 civilians were killed in a night raid in the eastern province of Kunar.
NATO-led forces in Afghanistan are not expected to make a formal response until the full decree has been issued.
Civilian casualties are a source of tension between Afghan and NATO forces.
“I will issue a decree [on Sunday] that no Afghan security forces, in any circumstances can ask for the foreigners’ planes for carrying out operations on our homes and villages,” Hamid Karzai said in a speech at the Afghan National Military Academy in Kabul.
“Our forces ask for air support from foreigners and children get killed in an air strike,” he added.
NATO troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and have gradually been handing over responsibility for security to their Afghan counterparts.
Hamid Karzai said Afghans were “happy” about the withdrawal.
“We are happy for all their help and assistance so far, but we do not need foreign forces to defend our country. We want our Afghan forces to defend their homeland,” he said.
Afghan forces now lead 90% of all security operations.
Yet the Afghan air force has limited strength, so NATO air support is considered crucial, especially for operations in harsh terrain and mountainous areas.
President Hamid Karzai has announced that Afghan security forces are to be banned from calling for foreign air strikes in residential areas
Most of the 10 civilians killed in the February 13th air strike on Kunar were women and children.
Four Taliban fighters also died in the attack, in the Shegal district of Kunar, which borders Pakistan. The Afghan army said the dead men had links to al-Qaeda.
Hamid Karzai said he had been told the air strike was requested by Afghan forces.
“If this is true, it is very regrettable and it is very shameful. How could they ask foreigners to send planes and bomb our own houses?” he said.
“I agree we are passing through a challenging phase, but we are the owners of this country… and fortunately, we will show to the world that we can protect our country,” said President Hamid Karzai.
The deaths in Kunar came just after US President Barack Obama confirmed plans for the withdrawal of about half the 66,000 US troops in Afghanistan by early 2014.
Last year a US drone attack in the same area killed Mullah Dadullah, a high-ranking Pakistani Taliban commander.
Civilian casualties rose sharply in every year from 2008 to 2011, though they fell in the first half of 2012, according to figures from the UN mission in Afghanistan.
The figures cover deaths caused both by NATO forces, allied with government troops, and by insurgents.
A UN report earlier this month accused the US of killing hundreds of children in air strikes over the past four years.
The number of child casualties had doubled in 2010-2011 due to a “lack of precautionary measures and use of indiscriminate force”, the study found.
The NATO-led ISAF force called the claims “categorically unfounded” and “false”.
The US military has decided to hand control of controversial Bagram prison housing more than 3,000 Taliban fighters and terrorism suspects to the Afghan authorities.
In a small ceremony, Afghan officials said inmates had been transferred to their authority.
The move is part of a deal to transfer all Afghan prisons back to local control ahead of the withdrawal of NATO forces at the end of 2014.
Bagram prison has been at the centre of a number of prisoner abuse allegations.
Although Afghan President Hamid Karzai has hailed the planned handover, disagreements with the US remain.
Washington is insisting that it will maintain control over some detainees in the prison.
Bagram prison in Afghanistan has been at the centre of a number of prisoner abuse allegations
The handover took place in a brief ceremony which correspondents say was poorly attended by US and NATO officers.
“I’m happy that today we are witnessing a glorious ceremony that marks the handing over of responsibilities of Afghan prisoners to Afghans themselves,” said acting Defence Minister Enayatullah Nazari, quoted by AFP news agency.
Now officially known as the Parwan Detention Centre, Bagram prison lies about 40 km (25 miles) north of the capital, Kabul.
It was once located in one of the largest military bases for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, but the new Parwan facility was constructed a few miles away in 2010.
More than 3,000 inmates are held there, including about 50 foreigners not covered by the handover agreement signed in March.
The US military still wants to run a section of the jail and is not handing over some detainees, saying it has the right to hold insurgents caught on the battlefield.
Privately, the US is concerned that some high-value inmates could be released if they are handed over, our correspondent says.
That has angered President Hamid Karzai, who says that full Afghan control is an issue of sovereignty.
Bagram has been described as “Afghanistan’s Guantanamo” for its troubled past of prisoner abuse and indefinite detention.
In April 2010, a media investigation uncovered allegations of prisoner abuse at a hidden facility at Bagram.
The US military denied it was operating a secret jail.
In January 2012, Afghan investigators accused the US Army of abusing detainees at Bagram.
The investigators said prisoners had reported being tortured, held without evidence and subjected to humiliating body searches.
The following month, US soldiers burned Korans at Bagram, leading to days of protests and targeted killings across Afghanistan.
A US investigation said there was no malicious intent to disrespect Islam.
A bomb planted by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan has destroyed 22 NATO fuel tankers carrying supplies to coalition forces, local officials say.
The vehicles were hit by a pre-dawn explosion which triggered a huge fire that engulfed them in flames, they say.
At the time, the trucks were parked overnight in Samangan province, as they headed from Uzbekistan towards NATO forces in the south.
Police said the fire caused by the bomb is still burning.
An intelligence official said the device was attached under one of the trucks, which were parked close together.
The trucks were parked overnight in Samangan province, as they headed from Uzbekistan towards NATO forces in the south
“Since it was early in the morning, there were not a lot of people around. Otherwise, it could have caused a lot more casualties,” said the official.
In a statement, the Taliban said they carried out the attack, which officials say is the first of its kind in northern Afghanistan.
The trucks were attacked in the same province where well-known Afghan politician Ahmad Khan Samangani was killed in a suicide attack on Saturday while attending his daughter’s wedding.
NATO has relied heavily on overland supplies from Central Asia since last November when Pakistan banned NATO convoys after US airstrikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.
Although Pakistan lifted its blockade earlier this month, NATO traffic has yet to return to normal.
While attacks on NATO tankers have been commonplace in Pakistan in recent years, correspondents say such attacks in Afghanistan have been much less frequent.