NEW YORK - The US policy for airstrikes in Afghanistan will be curtailed to help reduce the number of civilian deaths, the US troop commander in the country said. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal said the use of airstrikes during firefights mainly would be allowed only to prevent US and other coalition troops from being overrun, The New York Times reported Monday. In cases of active fighting with Taliban militants, airstrikes would be limited if the combat is in populated areas where most Afghan civilian deaths have occurred and would be especially stringent in attacking houses and compounds where insurgents are suspected of hiding, the general said. Air power contains the seeds of our own destruction if we do not use it responsibly, the Times reported McChrystal as telling his senior officials last week. We can lose this fight. When we shoot into a compound, that should only be for the protection of our forces. I want everyone to understand that. The use of airstrikes has angered the Afghan government, which repeatedly criticized American and NATO forces for not taking enough care to protect against civilian deaths, the Times said. McChrystals new guidelines follow last months US airstrikes on the village of Granai, where dozens of civilians were killed. Ahmad Nader Nadery, director of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, told the Times he was heartened by the changes McChrystal outlined. We are looking forward to seeing the new guidelines, and actually seeing how they would be translated into practice, Nadery said.