Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

Taliban’s Concern about Civilian Casualties

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Taliban’s Concern about Civilian Casualties

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 Kabul government. However, the recent civilian casualties in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province provoked a strong sense of anger within and across the country.
Few days back, Afghan soldiers carried out air strike against the Taliban in Archin district of Kunduz province, in which a number of the Taliban’s high-ranking figures were killed. The Taliban aired a video clip of children’s death and the photos of their dead bodies in social media and condemned Afghan soldiers claiming that the strike was carried out in a religious seminary where a ceremony was held to honor the students. Nonetheless, Afghan officials said that the attack targeted the Taliban who had a meeting.
The public showed a mixed feeling toward the incident. A number of people supported the attack for inflicting heavy casualties upon the Taliban. However, some others, mainly from the tribal belts, believed that the attack did more harm than good since some children were among the casualties.
After all, some radical figures in Pakistan raised their voice against the attack in the wake of civilian casualties. MaulanaFazl-ur-Rahman, a senior preacher from the hardline Deobandi sect and Emir of JamiatUlema-e-Islam, voiced his concern about civilian casualties in Kunduz attack. Maulana, who is said to have a close tie with the Taliban, condemned the attack in a strong tone. Since some video clips of children’s death were released in social media with provocative comments in Urdu Language, Afghans believed that it was Maulana’s supporters who sought to fish in the troubled waters.
Fazul Rahman’s concerns in this regard seemed to be out of political tendencies rather than religious dilemma. For instance, the militant fighters, mainly the Taliban, have killed thousands of civilians and continue to do so in Afghanistan and Pakistan but he never raised his voice. Similarly, he does not issue fatwa against Jihad in Afghanistan despite the civilian heavy death toll. Hence, according to the public, he still shares a tie with the Taliban and he was more concerned about the death of the Taliban’s leaders – including MaulawiShahidullah, MaulawiBrial, MaulawiMumtaz and MaulawiZahidullah – in Kunduz rather than the civilian casualties.
The Taliban’s concern about civilian casualties, although it is not confirmed if civilians are killed by Afghan soldiers’ attacks, was highly ridiculous. The Taliban have carried out deadly attacks against Afghan nation and killed thousands of civilians, including women and children, in the past. The suicide car bombing in the heart of Kabul in January 27, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, killed and wounded more than 300 people, mostly civilians. The Taliban have constantly carried out attacks in public places and sacred places that resulted in heavy civilian casualties. They will not end their attacks in public places in the future, either. Therefore, their concern for civilian casualties was highly ridiculous.
It should be noted that the Taliban are never ever concerned about civilian casualties, however, they sought to provoke the public sentiment against the government. The Taliban’s cruel practices against the civilians are beyond the world’s doubt. It is said that if children are killed in Kunduz attack, they must have been trained for militancy as the Taliban have recruited children in the past. The Taliban brainwash the children in seminaries and send them to war.
To prove their concern about civilian casualties, the Taliban will have to stop their suicide attacks in public places and their war in residential areas. Secondly, they have to sit around the negotiating table with Afghan government and resolve the challenges through dialogue rather than conflicts. But they have been turning down peace talks. The continuation of conflicts will result in greater civilian casualty, which is a great cause for concern.
Moreover, the government also has to protect the life and rights of people and be highly committed to the rule of war. It is self-explanatory that Afghan soldiers fight for protecting the life of people, but they have to observe the humanitarian law so that civilians do not sustain casualties anymore.
Meanwhile, Afghan people should be cautious enough not to fall for the bogus claim of the militants or the anti-government political circles, be it in or out of the country. The Taliban have a highly black record in killing civilians and their concern in this regard is to provoke the public sentiment against the government and muddy the waters.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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