US expresses concern over insurgents’ attacks on civilians
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Noting that widespread violence, predominantly indiscriminate attacks on civilians were the most significant human rights abuses in Afghanistan in the year 2014, the State Department on Thursday expressed concern over continued attacks on civilians by insurgent groups.
“There was continued instability in the country, where the government is still fighting an active insurgency. The most significant problem was continued attacks on civilians by insurgent groups,” the State Department said in its annual Congressional-mandated report on human rights.
“Eight journalists were killed over the year, making it the deadliest year for the media since 2001. Violent and brutal attacks against women continued, including on elected female government officials during the year. There were ongoing human rights abuses committed by security forces,” the report said.
In his preface to the report, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, noted the successful elections in the country last year. “In Afghanistan, millions of people defied threats of violence to choose a new president representing the country’s first peaceful transfer of power from one elected government to another,” he said.
According to the report, widespread disregard for the rule of law and official impunity for those who committed human rights abuses were serious problems. The government did not prosecute abuses by officials consistently or effectively, it said.
“The Taliban and other insurgents continued to kill civilians and security force personnel using indiscriminate tactics such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, suicide attacks, rocket attacks, and armed attacks,” the State Department said.
“The Taliban used children as suicide bombers. Antigovernment elements also threatened, robbed, and attacked villagers, foreigners, civil servants, and medical and nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers. Authorities did not investigate or prosecute most of these abuses,” it said.
The State Department said there were credible reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. There continued to be reports of disappearances attributed to security forces, particularly in Kandahar province, it said adding that there were widespread reports government officials, security forces, detention center authorities, and police committed abuses.
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