The UN representatives in Kabul, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), last month issued a report which states that in the first six months of this year 5166 civilians have suffered casualties. Of these 1601 casualties have been fatal while the remaining 3565 have been injuries. UNAMA also added that this year civilian casualties have increased four-fold compared to the same period last year.
The Head of UNAMA, Tadamichi Yamamoto, has said that the involved parties to the conflict have not fulfilled their undertakings for the prevention of civilian lives. Similarly the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Zeid Ra’ad Hassan – called the civilian casualties of the Afghan conflict over the past six months as alarming and shameful.
Surprisingly this is the first time that UNAMA has not directly accused the Taliban for around 90% of the civilian casualties. Although it is worth noting they have never accused the American occupiers or their internal allies of directly contributing towards the majority of civilian losses.
This report comes at a time when the American’s have being given new mandates significantly increasing their ability to take direct part in the ongoing conflict. The American troops have made full use of their new-found authorities and have made use of all kinds of heavy weaponry in battles with the Taliban.
The members of Kabul Parliament have called on foreign troops to abstain from using cruise missiles and other weapons of mass destruction since such weaponry causes widespread geological and human destruction. Members of Parliament – Humayoon Humayoon and Qadir Zazi – say that the circumstances of Afghanistan do not dictate the use of large-scale destructive weaponry and the use of cruise missiles or heavy aerial bombardment causes large scale environmental destruction and plays a significant role in large-scale civilian casualties.
They add that since the exile of the Taliban’s government, this is the first time that foreign forces – in addition to heavy aerial bombardment – have resorted back to the use of cruise missiles. According to them in Nangarhar alone they have used 25 cruise missiles.
On the other hand, the officials of Kabul regime repetitively call for more foreign bombardment and attacks against the Taliban. Some time ago the regime’s governor for Helmand – Hayatullah Hayat – stated that the current American-led bombardment is insufficient and called on the Americans to increase their aerial campaign against the Taliban. Yet the American forces, their internal allies and UNAMA consistently label all those killed in aerial bombardment as ‘militants’.
The regime’s governor for Helmand – Hayatullah Hayat – has made his appeal for further foreign bombardment at a time when the Taliban is launching coordinated attacks across the province and utilizing mainly light and medium weaponry. UNAMA also generally attributes civilian casualties to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) while in reality these devices are controlled and triggered by remote devices and Taliban take great pains to target only legitimate military targets with these devices.
It is simple logic that civilian casualties are mainly caused by large-scale and indiscriminate weaponry which is mostly utilized by the foreign forces and their internal allies. Therefore UNAMA should not simply take the regime’s word that those killed are ‘militant’s. Rather they should rigorously investigate the environmental and human destruction of aerial bombardment and base their reports on these investigations. Otherwise we will never hear the true cost of the ongoing war in Afghanistan.