New 1398 solar year has begun amid concern over increasing of civilian casualties in Afghanistan as violence and fighting have intensified in recent days in various parts of the country.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says the new solar year began with civilian casualties in Afghanistan and that the situation should change.
“During the first three days of the new solar year, civilians have sustained casualties in Helmand, Kunduz and Kabul and such incidents are seriously concerning,” chief executive of AIHRC Mosa Mahmoudi said.
Condemning the attacks on civilians, Mahmoudi said that such attacks have shown that the warring sides were not acting upon their commitments in connection with protection of innocent civilians.
“There should be determination for changing policy and protection of civilians as the issue results in increasing of violence and that civilians will be again victimized as before,” Mahmoudi added.
More civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict last year than at any time since records have been kept, according to a United Nations report released a month ago by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN Human Rights Office. The report documented 3,804 civilian deaths in 2018. Among the dead were 927 children, the highest recorded number of boys and girls killed in the conflict during a single year.
In total, UNAMA documented 10,993 civilian casualties (3,804 deaths and 7,189 injured), representing a five per cent increase in overall civilian casualties and an 11 per cent increase in civilian deaths compared to 2017.
UNAMA attributed the majority of civilian casualties –63 per cent– to Anti-Government Elements (AGEs), 37 percent to Taliban, 20 percent to Daesh, and 6 percent to undetermined AGEs. Pro-Government Forces caused 24 percent of civilian casualties —14 percent by Afghan national security forces, six percent by international military forces, as well as four percent by other pro-Government armed groups and forces.
The warring sides have been repeatedly asked to act upon their commitments and respect international humanitarian regulations and pay particular attention to protection of innocent civilians in fighting.
The increasing number of civilian casualties in recent months shows that peace efforts that are underway in national and international level have not been able to reduce violence in the country.
Afghan officials even President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has expressed concern over increasing of civilian casualties in the country, instructing the country’s defense and security forces to adopt particular measures for protection of civilian casualties in the country.
In his new message, the country’s President said: “Terrorists, who are the enemies of the country’s bright future and development, are always attacking on civil installations, ceremonies, occasions and public sites to spread fear and terror, and to conceal their defeat in the battlefield.”
Meanwhile, acting spokesperson to the ministry of interior Nasrat Rahimi said that all ANDSF have been ordered to pay particular consideration to protection of the life of civilians during their military operations.