Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Civilian Casualties Disconcert the Public not International Community

Afghans are highly concerned about the civilian casualties. The ongoing conflict has inflicted heavy casualties on non-combatants. Neither the US-Taliban Doha agreement nor the intra-Afghan dialogue could lead to peace or stability. The Taliban, who flagrantly violate the humanitarian law, hold out against declaring ceasefire.
If peace talks reach deadlock, the casualties will continue and Afghan men and women will bear the brunt of the conflict. However, talks are the only light at the end of the tunnel for the people of Afghanistan. The fatality toll is really high as a result of attacks carried out by the Taliban, Islamic State of Khurasan (IS-K), al-Qaeda, and other terrorist networks.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) said in a report last week that a total of 2,250 people were killed or injured in targeted assassination attacks and attempts – including 1,078 killed and 1,172 wounded – last year.
“Unfortunately, civilian casualties from assassinations and targeted killings in 2020 have almost tripled to 169 percent compared to 2019,” the report said.
It added that the total number of civilian casualties resulting from IS-K suicide attacks was 194 killed and wounded in 2019, but that number rose to 258 killed and injured in 2020.
Head of AIHRC Publications and Communications Department Zabihullah Farhang has said the AHIRC report shows a 21 percent decline in civilian casualties, the situation in Afghanistan is deplorable and the war keeps taking victims from civilians in large numbers. He adds that the real casualties are certainly higher than the recorded cases because not all cases of civilian tolls have been documented by the AHIRC. He notes that the 40 percent decrease in civilian casualties caused by the Taliban in 2020 is because the group avoided major bombing attacks in cities after the signing of the US-Taliban peace agreement. In the meantime, however, “we unfortunately witness tactics, methods, and tools – such as road bombs, IEDs, and car bombs – that have been used [more] instead, causing 30 percent of the whole casualties,” he maintained. He adds the AIHRC repeatedly urged the Taliban to avoid such indiscriminate tactics that do not differentiate between civilian and military targets.
It is self-explanatory that the Taliban carry out indiscriminate attacks, which result in heavy civilian fatalities. They do not observe national or international laws. The Taliban leaders do not raise their eyebrows in the wake of killing civilians, which is strongly forbidden in Islam, by their militants. As a result, they turn a blind eye to the repeated calls of Afghan people for reduction in violence. Worst, the Taliban seek to put pressure on the government and trigger public anger against it through killing civilians, including women and children. Lately, the Taliban do not claim responsibility for the acts of their killings, a new tactic adopted to avoid international pressure.
Within the last 25 years, the Taliban have killed and amputated a large number of Afghan civilians, mainly women and children, without an iota of mercy. They outraged the public conscience through their acts of violence. In spite of this fact, the Taliban do not want to regret the killing of thousands of civilians.
The United States and its international allies as well as the international community have to put pressure on the Taliban to stop killing civilians, which is against both the international law and Islamic Sharia. Killing civilians to pressure the government has no justification. It should be noted that the Taliban have also targeted Islamic clerics, civil society activists, journalists, etc. which are highly shocking. The Taliban who claim to fight for religious reasons spill the blood of high-profile clerics, which is highly paradoxical and have no justification at all. It indicates that the Taliban will kill anyone – be it Islamic clerics or women and children – for their political interests. The Taliban lack tolerance and will talk at gunpoint to those who challenge their narrative. In short, the Taliban do not speak the language of logic or rationality and will not come to debate their ideology but simply pull the trigger at those who put their ideology under question.
Seeking to impose their warped mind at the barrel of gun will be neither acceptable nor possible. The Taliban have to stop their accept-or-die policy and engage in meaningful and rational negotiations with the Afghan representatives. Shedding the blood of civilians, even of soldiers, will not lead to peace or stability. Therefore, warring sides had better stop targeting civilians and resolve the tension through negotiated settlement.
The international community should not play the role of a spectator as thousands of people are killed and wounded. It has to pressure the Taliban to stop their acts of violence.