Government urged to prosecute those responsible for civilian casualties in Helmand

After reports released in connection with civilian casualties caused by Afghan and foreign forces bombardments in Helmand’s Sangin district, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) while condemning targeting civilian individuals and civilian areas, has asked for prosecuting those responsible for the incident.
Meanwhile, a number of Kabul residents in interview with The Kabul Times correspondent have asked for stopping such bombardments on civilians in remote areas of the country, saying air strikes conducted by NATO forces should be planned in close coordination with Afghanistan government so that civilian casualties would not happen anymore.
“Targeting civilian individuals is against human rights, but unfortunately most of air strikes have caused civilian casualties as the recent air strike in Helmand’s Sangin district has martyred 16 members of a single family,” a Kabul resident Ahmad Jawad said.
In the meantime, a spokesperson to Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) Belal Sediqi told media that such incidents would happen again and again unless perpetrators of such incident brought to justice.
In a statement released by AIHRC says the commission while condemning targeting civilian individuals and civilian areas, expresses its heartfelt sympathy to the families of the victims and those wounded in this airstrike incident in MatalaKelai, Kalmiyan and Chenar Kelai of Sangin district of Helmand province, in which a number of civilians were killed or injured.
Targeting residential areas and civilian population is an illegal act and a violation of International Humanitarian Law, contrary to domestic laws and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.
According to AIHRC, targeting civilian individuals and civilian areas constitute violation of the principles of distinction and proportionality and rules of IHL, while all parties to the armed conflict are obliged to respect the rules of IHL and adopt all the necessary measures to protect the civilian population and civilian areas.
AIHRC urges the government, especially the security forces, judicial organs and pro-government international forces to make a comprehensive and precise investigation in this regard, and try to prosecute those responsible for the incident, and provide the necessary compensation and assistance for those wounded and families of the victims of the incident.
Reports indicate that at least 16 civilians were martyred in an airstrike in Sangin district in southern Helmand province. Sangin residents said the victims were all members of one family and children and women were also among them.
Helmand provincial council chief Atawullah Afghan had also confirmed the airstrike and said 16 civilians including children and women were among the casualties caused by air strike conducted by Afghan and foreign forces. According to him, the airstrike was carried out in Sangin district on Thursday.
In connection with the incident, the Ministry of Defense has informed of assignment of a team to investigate possible civilian casualties in the incident. A spokesperson to the ministry of defense Ghafoor Ahmad Javed said that a large-scale military operation were underway in Sangin district for the past three days, adding that militants hideouts were destroyed during the operation in the district.
Shukria Kohistani

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