By: Lailuma Noori
Following continued civilian casualties in clashes between ANDSF and Taliban fighters, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has expressed its serious concern over increasing civilian casualties in the country.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission documented 2,488 civilian casualties in the past three months.
“New figures by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission indicate that there are still civilian casualties and it is seriously concerning,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AIHRC Musa Mahmoudi said, adding that putting any kind of harm to innocent civilians is against human rights, Islamic and war laws, but unfortunately the warring sides have not paid serious attention to the issue.
Speaking in a news conference the other day, a spokesperson to the President, Sediq Sediqi said the government had particular attention to safety of innocent civilians, adding that in some situations in which armed insurgents were hiding in residential houses of civilians, military operations were even stopped by ANDSF.
Recently, NATO’s Resolute Support Mission has documented 3,163 civilian casualties during the first five months of 2019, according to a report from the US Department of Defense. The toll includes 950 deaths and 2,213 injured. Majority of the casualties (2,749 including 778 deaths and 1,971) were caused by insurgents and terrorists, according to the report addressed to the US Congress. US-led coalition was responsible for 115 civilian casualties including 60 deaths and 55 injured.
158 civilian casualties (68 killed and 90) were attributed to Afghan forces.
Concerns over increasing civilian casualties have raised after a range of attacked launched recently by Taliban in Kabul, Ghazni and Helmand where dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed and wounded. Meanwhile, due to air strikes conducted recently by Afghan and coalition forces in Baghlan, Maidan Wardak and Urzgan, a number of civilians have been killed and wounded.
Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) considers Taliban as main perpetrator for increasing civilian casualties in the country.
“The first and last perpetrator for increasing civilian casualties in the country is the Taliban and other terrorist groups. As you know, insurgents are mostly launching their attacks and explosions inside cities as well as close to residential houses. In the meantime, in battlefields, insurgents use innocent civilians as shield as they have taken their positions in homes of civilians to target ANDSF,” said Fawad Aman, deputy spokesperson to the ministry of defense.
According to the reports, nearly 90 percent of civilian casualties has been caused by direct attacks, explosions, suicide attacks and targeted killing. Even Afghans are not safe in schools, banks and wedding parties as most of civilians have been targeted in such locations by armed insurgent groups in the past.
New figures in connection with civilian casualties indicate that peace talks with the Taliban group in recent weeks could not help reduce increasing insecurities as well as civilian casualties in the country. Afghan officials even President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani have expressed concern over increasing of civilian casualties in the country, insisting on prevention of the casualties.
For stopping civilian casualties, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has seriously asked all parties to the war to pay serious attention to safety and protection life of civilians by observing laws of the war and respecting values of the human rights.