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CIVIC Urges Warring Parties in Afghanistan to Protect Civilians

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(Last Updated On: September 20, 2019)

The Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) condemns the increase in violence across Afghanistan resulting in over 4,000 civilian deaths and injuries this year.

The organization urges all warring parties in Afghanistan to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and take all measures to prevent civilian deaths and injuries.

“Too little attention is being paid to stop the violence and end the suffering of Afghan civilians,” Sahr Muhammedally, Director of MENA & South Asia, said. “All parties to the conflict must protect civilians, civilian property, and medical facilities.”

While US and Taliban peace talks were ongoing (as of September they were suspended), fighting continued with devastating consequences for civilians.

Tactics such as suicide attacks, airstrikes, and search operations conducted in rural and urban areas are killing and maiming women, men, and children who had no part in the fighting. Civilian infrastructure such as homes, mosques, schools, and health care facilities are being hit as well.

The United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), which has been recording casualties since 2009, attributed 37 percent of all casualties to Afghan and international forces and 52 percent to armed opposition groups in just the first half of 2019.

A joint declaration by the Taliban, Afghan civil society, and some government representatives at the Intra-Afghan Dialogue in Doha in July 2019 committed all parties to the conflict to respect and protect people and their property and to minimize civilian casualties to zero. But the violence has intensified since then.

In August, the Islamic State attacked a wedding party killing 92 and injuring 142. On September 17 a Taliban suicide attack on a campaign rally in Parwan, north of Kabul, killed at least 26 civilians and injured more than 42. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, wrongly calling the campaign rally a “military target.” On September 19, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb at an Afghan intelligence facility in Qalat City, Zabul, which caused severe structural damage to a hospital 20 meters away and private residences, killing 22, and wounding 90.

Afghan and international forces have also intensified airstrikes and search operations, which have resulted in a spike in civilian casualties. In August, an Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) raid reportedly killed 11 civilians in Paktika Province. In September, an NDS raid in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province resulted in the deaths of four civilians, prompting the head of the NDS to resign. On September 19, a US drone strike targeting the Islamic State in Nangarhar province reportedly killed civilians and is under investigation by US forces.

“The current intensity in fighting to advance military goals, resulting in civilian harm cannot go on. All sides must review their military tactics and make determined efforts to reduce, investigate, and acknowledge civilian harm,” Muhammedally said.

Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) works with civilians and armed actors in the conflict to prevent, mitigate, and respond to civilian harm.

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Afghanistan’s population closes to nearly 33 million

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

According to the 1399 census – Persian calendar – the population of Afghanistan is estimated at 33 million roughly.

The National Statistics and Information Authority said that 51 percent of the country’s population is male, and more than 23 million Afghans live in rural areas.

The population of the country in 1399, the Persian calendar, saw an increase of almost 700,000 people.

The number of nomads is estimated at 1.5 million, and the youth under the age of 15 make up to 15.5 million.

Sixteen million and eight hundred thousand people are men and sixteen million and one hundred thousand are women, according to the authority.

A number of sociologists believe that in the official procedure of census, the estimation faces technical challenges, and therefore, there is social skepticism about these statistics.

On the other hand, some citizens say that the war in Afghanistan has been going on for years and that the government has not been able to keep track of the count on those living under the Taliban dominance.

It is worth noting that currently over 54% of the Afghans live under poverty, and as the population grows, so will the poverty.

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Coronavirus update Afghanistan; outbreak rapidly on the rise

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

The outbreak of the Coronavirus in Afghanistan is shocking, and the Ministry of Public Health says it will be difficult to manage if people do not follow the health guidelines.

According to the ministry’s deputy, 545 cases of the Coronavirus have been reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of infections to 15,750 in the country.

The Ministry of Public Health said that 265 people have died and 1,428 others have been cured so far.

“In the last 24 hours, 1,166 samples were tested, of which 545 were positive, with ten deaths and 100 recoveries,” said Wahidullah Majrooh, a deputy of the MOPH.

He added, “The message from the Ministry of Health is that the Coronavirus is controllable with the cooperation of people. If people work together to follow the advice, the ministry will be able to stop the circulation of the virus in the community.”

Meanwhile, the ministry emphasizes that the increase in the number of infections is concerning, and if people ignore the pandemic, they will risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

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Shaheen: The number of prisoners released by the gov’t is conflicted

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(Last Updated On: June 1, 2020)

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has said that the government has released less than 2,500 prisoners while claiming the release of 3,000.

According to him, the government has so far released only 2,284 Taliban prisoners, to be exact.

Shaheen added that the release of prisoners had to be transparent, and there should not be any flaws in the process.

Meanwhile, Jawed Faisal, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said that 1,000 Taliban prisoners had been released before Eid-ul-Fitr.

According to him, on the occasion of the Eid, the president announced the release of 2,000 Taliban prisoners, out of which, 1,000 were released over Eid holidays.

Reportedly, in the past three days, the government has released 710 Taliban prisoners and another 290 are expected to be added to the number, bringing the total of the released prisoners to 3,000.

Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member, said that according to some credible sources, some drug traffickers had also been released among the Taliban prisoners.

According to the government, civilians are included among the over 400 prisoners released by the Taliban and were claimed as men of the government.

The government’s negotiating team has been urging the Taliban to start the Intra-Afghan negotiations soon.

Farooq Majrooh, a member of the government’s negotiating team, said that some countries were ready to host the talks and that the government and the Taliban had to agree on a specific location as soon as possible.

On the other hand, the High Council of National Reconciliation, which is responsible for advancing the peace talks, has announced working on the structure of the council.

Fawzia Kufi, a member of the government’s negotiating team, stressed that women should leading roles in the High Council for National Reconciliation.

The release of 2,000 Taliban prisoners came to an end on Sunday, but the government has said nothing about future steps in the matter; however, the Taliban’s technical team to verify the detainees is still in Kabul.

Earlier, sources told Ariana News that the Intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban will begin between 10th and 15th June – no official acknowledgment has been made though.

The government hopes that the release of prisoners could lead to starting the Intra-Afghan talks and a reduction in the level of violence; while the Taliban insist on the release of all 5,000 prisoners as a precondition to the talks.

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