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Afghanistan: Rights groups blame Taliban for recent civilian deaths in Kandahar
Afghanistan
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Afghanistan: Rights groups blame Taliban for recent civilian deaths in Kandahar

| @indiablooms | 01 Aug 2021, 10:39 pm

Kandahar: Several human rights organizations have blamed Taliban terrorists for the  death of dozens of civilians in Kandahar's Spin-Boldak district.

Afghanistan's independent human rights commission blamed the Taliban for killing civilians in Spin-Boldak district during the conflict with the Afghan forces, reports ANI.

The commission found out that the Taliban is not committed to any humanitarian law and has been ignoring all the human rights measures in the country, Afghanistan Times reported citing the human right commission.

"The Taliban insurgents are also engaged in revenge murder of civilians and have been plundering the assets of the people," the commission informed as quoted by ANI.

Patricia Gossman, Associate Asia director for Human Rights, said that although the Taliban's leaders denied any abuse, there are sufficient documents showing civilians' killing by insurgents in the area under their control, Afghanistan Times reported as quoted by ANI.

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2021 reached record levels, including a particularly sharp increase in killings and injuries since May when international military forces began their withdrawal and the fighting intensified following the Taliban’s offensive. In a new report issued today, the United Nations warns that without a significant de-escalation in violence Afghanistan is on course for 2021 to witness the highest ever number of documented civilian casualties in a single year since UNAMA records began.

UNAMA’s Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Midyear Update 2021 documents 5,183 civilian casualties (1,659 killed and 3,524 injured), a 47 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2020.

Of serious concern is the acute rise in the number of civilians killed and injured in the period from 1 May, with almost as many civilian casualties in the May-June period as recorded in the entire preceding four months.

The number of civilian casualties during May and June – 2,392 in total (783 killed and 1,609 injured) – was the highest for those months since UNAMA began its systematic documentation in 2009. The period January-April 2021 saw 2,791 civilian casualties (876 killed and 1,915 injured).

“I implore the Taliban and Afghan leaders to take heed of the conflict's grim and chilling trajectory and its devastating impact on civilians. The report provides a clear warning that unprecedented numbers of Afghan civilians will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed," said Deborah Lyons, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

The UN envoy, who is also the head of UNAMA, called on the Taliban and Afghan leaders to, “intensify your efforts at the negotiating table, stop the Afghan against Afghan fighting. Protect the Afghan people and give them hope for a better future.”

Much of the battlefield action during the most deadly months of May and June took place outside cities, in areas with comparatively low population levels. The UN is gravely concerned that if intensive military action is undertaken in urban areas with high population densities, the consequences for Afghan civilians could be catastrophic.

“The pursuit of a military solution will only increase the suffering of the Afghan people,” the report says.

The UN reminds the parties of their obligations under international law to protect civilians, and in particular highlights their stated commitment to do so, most recently expressed in the joint statement issued on 18 July 2021 by representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, when they agreed to prevent harm to civilians.

Particularly shocking and of deep concern is that women, boys and girls made up close to half of all civilian casualties in the first half of 2021. Comprising 46 per cent of all civilian casualties, 32 per cent were children – 1,682 in total (468 killed and 1,214 injured) and 14 per cent were women – 727 in total (219 killed and 508 injured). It is sickening to report that more women and more children were killed and injured than ever before recorded by UNAMA for the first half of any calendar year.

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