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kabul
September 27, 2018
The Kabul Times

Persistent civilian casualties

At least 261 civilians were martyred, and 524 others injured in 19 provinces of the country in August, the Civilian Protection Advocacy Group (CPAG) said on Saturday.
About 82 people were martyred and 212 wounded in southern Ghazni after rebels stormed the city last month. The government blamed the Taliban for civilian casualties.
During the period, Kabul saw most of casualties, with 69 martyred and 95 others wounded in a suicide assault on an education canter in the Dasht-e-Barchi area of the capital Kabul.
A suicide bomb attack inside a mosque in southeastern Paktia province martyred 29 individuals and wounded 54 others.
The CPAC once again called upon all warring parties to stop killing civilians. The group urged the United Nations and the US to accelerate efforts to help prevent civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
Last month, the group said, 542 civilians suffered casualties — 232 martyred and 313 injured
In recent months, the militants have been increasingly targeting innocent civilians across the country. This is worrisome sign for safety and security of civilians in Afghanistan as the ongoing insurgency threatening their lives to a large extent.
The militants’ recent war tactics clearly indicate that they will continue to target civilians in different ways such as kidnaping and bombing populous areas. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) needs to effectively protect the public and minimize civilian casualties by the militants.
One of the objectives of the Taliban is to show the government unable of providing security to the public. If the government fails to protect civilians, its credibility to the public will decline and the Taliban will take advantage of it.
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) has largely been successful in gaining public trust on its capability to provide security for the public. The ANDSF should redouble efforts for winning the hearts and minds of the people.
The government needs to plan for a long-term strategy for protecting civilians. The UN has had unsuccessful efforts in the past to persuade the Taliban for protecting the civilians. Any such efforts are beneficial. The United Nations still can influence the parties of the war to respect civilian safety and security.
The Afghan government should ask the UN and other parties to negotiate with the Taliban over the issue. The anti-insurgency campaign should be combined with direct or non-direct talks with the militant groups for providing protection to civilians by all sides of the war.
Civilian casualty is one of the most painful aspects of conflicts in the region and Afghanistan. Non-combatants, mainly women and children, have sustained fatalities and injuries within decades in Afghanistan and the nascent democracy could not end this issue since the Taliban militants continue their fight against government. Therefore, all the conflict sides required to spare no effort in protecting civilians and Taliban militants should stop using civilian houses as safe havens for their militancy.

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