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MoD Reasons ‘Taliban Using Human Shield’ for Rise in Civilian Casualties

(Last Updated On: October 13, 2017)

Civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in Afghanistan increased in the first nine months of this year, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said on Thursday.

According to a report released by UNAMA, 205 civilians killed and 261 others injured as a result of airstrikes carried out by Afghan and U.S. air forces between January and September, up 52% from the same period last year. More than two thirds of the victims are women and children.

International forces were responsible for 38% of the victims.

The Afghan defense ministry officials say they will seriously investigate reports of civilian causalities caused by Afghan air forces.

“The insurgent groups are using civilians as human shields, but the Afghan forces are trying their best to avoid any civilian causality,” Major General Dawlat Waziri, Defense Ministry Spokesman, said.

UNAMA said overall civilian casualties from the grinding conflict stood at 8,019 in the January-September period, down 6% from last year, with insurgents accounting for more than 60% of the civilian deaths and injuries.

The UN mission stated that Afghan civilians continue to bear the brunt of armed conflicts as 2,640 civilians were killed and some 5,379 others wounded in the first nine months of the year.

“Despite the overall reduction in civilian casualties, the failure of parties to the conflict to take adequate precautions to prevent harm to civilians continued to manifest in increased women and child casualties, particularly fatalities,” the report said.

Ground engagements, suicide and complex attacks, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) explosions caused most of the casualties, with people in Kabul, Helmand, Nangarhar, Kandahar and Faryab provinces hardest hit, UNAMA said.

The mission has attributed 64% of the civilian casualties to the Taliban and other insurgent groups, 20% to security forces over the period while 11% were attributed to both sides during clashes and the rest five percent were caused by other reasons.

Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) expressed concerns over the growing civilian causalities, urging all sides in Afghanistan’s war to avoid civilian causalities.

“The increase in civilian causalities indicates that humanitarian laws are violated in Afghanistan. We urge all sides to respect the rules and avoid targeting civilians,” the AIHRC Spokesman, Bilal Sediqi said.

By: Hesamuddin Hesam & Lyda Niazy

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