ISAF, Taliban trade accusations over rising civilian causalities
KABUL(PAN): The Taliban on Monday held foreign forces responsible for increasing number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, a claim dismissed by NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
"Civilian causalities increased due to airstrikes, night time raids and other attacks by international forces," a press statement issued by the Taliban said.
It said foreign forces, especially US forces, had killed people in southern Helmand, Kandahar, northern Kunduz, eastern Kunar, Laghman, southeastern Khost and some other parts of the country this year.
The statement particularly mentioned civilian deaths in a coalition airstrike in Ghaziabad and Manogi districts of Kunar province. "Foreign forces have also killed civilians in other parts of the country, but only 10 percent of them were reported in the media," the statement.
In their statement, the Taliban counted each incident resulting into civilian causalities by foreign forces over the past three months this year.
They also condemned firing by police at demonstrators during protests against the Quran burning in US.
"Taliban denounce killing Afghan civilians by international forces and ask the international community and human rights organisations to do their job of saving civilians," the statement said.
They also criticised the United Nations, human rights commission and other international organisations for blaming civilian causalities on Taliban in their reports.
However, ISAF's media office in Kabul dismissed Taliban claims, saying their propaganda statement was an attempt to escape responsibility for increasing civilian casualties in Taliban-planted roadside bombs and reckless firing of AK-47s and other weapons and target killings of tribal elders and government officials.
"The UNAMA report makes it clear that international forces and Afghan
National Security Forces have made progress in reducing civilian casualties in 2010, despite increase in operations and number of troops to drive insurgents out of their sanctuaries," the force said in a statement.
UNAMA, a recognised international body, has thoroughly investigated the issue of civilian casualties and has found that insurgent-caused casualties account for vast majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, it said.
"Both ISAF records and the UNAMA report show that the indiscriminate insurgent use of IEDs is the main contributor to civilian casualties. Reporting also shows a dramatic increase in civilian casualties caused by insurgent actions, and that insurgent activities account for 75 percent of all civilian casualties," the statement said.
It said since the report was produced at the end of last year, insurgents have in fact caused even more civilian casualties in the form of suicide bombs, specifically targeting civilians in Kabul and Kandahar in January and February, and the Jalalabad attack on a bank in February.
"Only yesterday three council members were killed by an insurgent emplaced IED in Farah province," it said.
"We would also like to point out that whenever we do hear of allegations of civilian casualties, we put out a release, do an investigation and are completely transparent with the results which we share with the Afghan government and with the public," ISAF said.
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