Protecting civilians highest priority: US
WASHINGTON (PAN): Protecting the civilian population is the highest priority for international forces in Afghanistan, the United States said on Wednesday, blaming the insurgents for waging a campaign against non-combatants.
"The US and international military forces place the highest priority on protecting civilian populations and avoiding injury and loss of life among Afghan civilians," the State Department deputy spokesperson said.
Commenting on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report, Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference that their efforts to reduce civilian casualties stood in stark contrast to the militants' tactics.
She said the vast majority, about three-quarters, of all civilian casualties were still caused by the insurgents despite calls from the United Nations for protecting non-combatants.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) remain the single largest killer of Afghan children, women and men in this conflict. "Again, these continued attacks show that the Taliban have no regard for human life, and of course, we are concerned about that."
Harf added as Afghan forces took the fight to the Taliban, their casualties would probably rise because they were taking on so much more responsibility and capability. "I think it’s over 80 percent of all security operations now. So again, I think that it’s worth keeping that context in mind."
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.